Featured Awards Winner

Jonathan Levain

March 2020

A big congrats to Jonathan Levain (@jonathanlevain), one of our 30 TDK Awards winners for 2020. From Design Academy Eindhoven, Jonathan's work was chosen by James Gilmore from @__designstudio__ in Sydney: 'Jonathan's work made me smile, think and laugh all at once. His love of investigation and experimentation jumps off the page with projects like 'Les Crayons', 'Digital Sprayers' and 'Adele'. They give the impression of a creative who can turn their hand to anything and have fun doing it. He's clearly an intelligent creative unafraid of embracing diverse challenges and outcomes in his work, I hope he leans into this even more as he starts his creative career.'

What do you wish you’d known now when you started your design course?

I started my course obsessing over making the right choices in my designs, and it blocked me most of the time. I was so afraid to make a mistake that I ended up failing. I wish my future self had turned up, slapped me in the face and told me: “Hey dude! Stop overthinking! Try it, you will see if it works, you’ve got nothing to lose right now!”. If you start a design course, make tons of mistakes for the sake of discovering new things. This will enrich your vocabulary and personality in your work.

What originally lead you in to design, and how has that changed - what do you want to do/are doing now?

At the age of 15, I knew I wanted to do something creative, and the word ‘design’ was mostly used in France for high-end furniture or cars at that time. It’s only later, in the Netherlands, that I got to see the broader spectrum of design and it got me addicted. I’m fond of the idea of being defined by my projects rather than my profession but it tends to be a struggle when you start. I hope I get the chance to be asked to contribute in more unexpected fields and apply my design thinking. So far, I’ve been applying it with digital, graphic, spatial and product outcomes, and let’s hope it continues.

Any hot tips for getting ahead at uni?

Stay away from the front row, that’s the students who disappoint later. Avoid generic designs and focus on your own design process more than the end result.

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Make tons of mistakes for the sake of discovering new things.

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What do you love about the design scene in your city and what companies are on your dream list to work or collaborate with?

Eindhoven is a city quite rich in design, especially for conceptual projects. I believe that art directors and studios of the world should pay attention to what happens here. Every year this place produces the most progressive and unconventional concepts in my opinion. Nonetheless, it’s a pity that graphic and communication design are not so well represented in Eindhoven. I would prefer to work elsewhere for KesselsKramer, &Walsh or Ogilvy NY.

Where do you see your career in 5 years?

I’ve started the entrepreneurial journey with my project Digital Sprayers, and I’m curious to see where it takes me in 5 years. I want it to evolve into a relevant platform for artists and young people to express themselves better in their cities. I also have plans to gain experience with several communication projects through agencies or from personal initiatives. Having the confidence to build a not-so-common studio which proposes a more interactive and quirky communication.

2020 for you in a sentence

Sorry I have to go, I’m in a hurry!

Instagram: @jonathanlevain

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