Pieter Ceizer on how a childhood spent skateboarding inspired his typography and his 'Nature needs you' clothing
If you were to wander the streets of Paris and Amsterdam, two cities designer Pieter Ceizer works between you are likely to run into his typography. Whether you spot it on a city wall or a passer-by's running shoes, Pieter's work aims to uplift onlookers with optimistic messages and vibrant colour.
As an artist, Pieter's output is seriously varied. Oftentimes his design work takes the form of abstract painting or installations, blurring the line between letter and shape with his bright forms. But he also creates type-driven clothing with a streetwear spirit for his eponymous brand - in the past, Pieter's collaborated with Ralph Lauren, Parisian boutique colette, Uniqlo, and Paris Saint Germain. With such a range of sartorial offerings under his belt, it's clear Pieter's linework is tailor-made for clothing. So when we teamed up with Ceizer on our latest sustainable clothing range for WWF, we couldn't wait to see what he would bring to the table. It's safe to say the Dutch artist blew our minds.
Through two T-shirt designs titled 'Take Care' and 'Nature needs you,' Pieter is promoting eco-conscious positivity with an empowering edge. "Making people aware is the challenge," Pieter pondered as we chatted over the project, "I wanted to share a fun vibe and at the same time get a message across." It's a challenge we think his garments are ready to take on - typography this bold is sure to make any passer-by take notice.
Curious to learn more about when Pieter's love of typography began, we chatted with the artist about his childhood, promoting freedom, and the accessibility of T-shirts.
Talk us through the idea behind your WWF clothing design
I made tons of sketches, together with WWF we chose 3 designs. In the process I wanted to share a fun vibe and at the same time get a message across.
What's your favourite thing about making a design meant to be worn?
It's fun to see a design or an idea come to life, it starts with messy drawings on paper and it evolves into a finished product. T-shirts are a perfect medium to spread the word, it's accessible and dynamic.
When did your love for typography first begin?
When I was about 11 years old I started skateboarding in Amsterdam. At the back of the half pipes local graffiti artists would make colourful letter drawings, it was the first time I got touched by art, and the whole environment was magical in the early 90s. Skateboarding and graffiti definitely shaped my youth and fired my creative spirit.
Who were you listening to whilst working on this project?
I listen to music all day; mostly funk, soul, jazz and hip hop; Zapp, Bootsy Collins, Latimore, The Dramatics, Santana, Too $hort, Big K.R.I.T.
Could you sum up your design aesthetic in a sentence?
My work is minimalistic, witty, funky typography with a classy sauce and a message for the youth.
Imagine: you're scrolling through David Attenborough episodes: Deserts, Deep Seas, Barrier Reefs, Forests, Ice Caps, Grasslands. Which do you pick to watch?
Talk us through your creative process for this project
I always start sketching and writing down words and phrases, I have to be in a very loose and free state of mind, everything is allowed and possible, nothing has to be good or aesthetic yet. In the end I have like 30 sketches. The second phase is more analytic; what fits the best with the spirit of the project and how could I improve these designs. The 3rd phase is about fine tuning and precision and maybe add some colour here and there.
What about our natural world inspires you? Any natural elements you draw from in your work?
My work promotes free spirit and freedom, the sea gives me this feeling, every year I have to see the sea at least once. I'm also crazy about sundowns; I make pictures out the window of my apartment like I'm on a holiday. I don't literally draw these elements in my work, but let's say I translate them into a mood, look and feel.
What do you dream our planet will look like in 50 years?
I dream we will live more in balance with nature. That we work together with nature instead of just doing whatever we do now. In the end it's more a mindset that can change all. I hope we'll all be more conscious.
What drew you to this WWF project?
Making people aware is the challenge. I hope that in the end not only the people but also politics will follow to move to being more responsible, so that we can make bigger steps towards a better system.
Take Care Unisex T-shirt by Pieter Ceizer
Nature Needs You Unisex T-shirt by Pieter Ceizer
Pieter's WWF wearables are now available to purchase, alongside design ranges from three other international artists. 10% of all sales will be passed onto WWF.
Explore more of Pieter's radically optimistic work here.