When I got a call from a new publisher called Petrichor I thought they’d ask me to design their logo or something, but it turned out they wanted me to make an artwork for the very first edition of their little underground art magazine. Done in black and white with just an old-school copy machine. There wasn’t much time, so I just took out every black pen, pencil or crayon I could find to create a child-like piece that says ‘Never quit being a kid’. Just before the release I added the final touch.; the comment to ‘work more neatly’ as if it were written by a teacher (a grown-up). Done in red, which was the only bit of color in this edition.
I was one of the 365 designers to have been asked to design a spread for this calendar book. It's an overview of what the Netherlands has to offer at the moment when it comes to graphic design and illustration. In black-and-white. Everyone got a spread with a date of the year. I got January 25th and wrote 'Great Art is Heart Work', where the right page is a nod to Milton Glaser's 'Art is Work'. And if you only read the left page it says 'Great Heart'. The book was commissioned by Stichting Print who organizes seminars for graphic design students among others. You can buy a copy here and support them.
Chinese publisher SendPoints has included a piece of mine in their book 'The Making of Artistic Typefaces' which features a range of weird and beautiful typographic work of different designers worldwide with – of course – 'the making of'. Very cool.
I created my piece of work with a heartshaped stamp. I once read a story about art stating that it’s not just the object you’re buying. The artist has put his heart and soul in every aspect of it. So, you’re not just buying a piece of art, you’re also buying a piece of heart. Which led to this motto. The green color stands for the color of money (greed), which is the last thing you should be thinking of when you’re creating something new.
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After I did a presentation about 'graphic design & music' at a symposium (in september 2016) Publish's editor in chief Dirk van Ginkel, who was in the audience, wanted to write an article about me and my work. We had a lovely chat in the studio about graphic design as well as music, knowing that we both play guitar. Working on the first edition of 2017 they decided to use my work for MAD Fest for the cover, making it their first black and typographical cover! What a way to end a year and begin the next...
I designed the packaging for Asilda Store, an online lifestyle store that sells ‘Inspiration Boost Items’ - pins, patches, and stickers. I was interviewed for their blog about my brand, my growth as a designer, my process and how I created the design for the Asilda Store packaging. Read the full interview here.
In november 2015 I got an e-mail from novum magazine saying they wanted to print an article about my work. In the issue of february 2016 they included a 6 page article with pictures of my work and this short bio:
Peter Kortleve, alias Shortlife, grew up in the small town of Wijhe in the east of the Netherlands and most of his spare time was spent on three things: listening to music (thanks to his father, who is a Beatles fan), playing guitar (he’s a big Springsteen admirer) and drawing. He may not have made it as far as John Lennon or The Boss in the music world, but in drawing his talent has certainly taken him a long way.
When it came to deciding what to do with his life, it was Peter Kortleve’s parents that suggested he study graphic design. "I had never heard of graphic design, so my father handed me a few print products and said – that’s what a graphic designer does. So, I went along to the design college in Zwolle and saw I saw some drawing of packages. Immediately I knew that that was what I wanted to do. So, thanks mum and dad!", says Peter Kortleve. All through his studies he remained fascinated by drawing and typography, although of course he learned about much else besides. After graduating and starting his first job in an advertising agency, the euphoria of this young creative was dampened: "There wasn’t much drawing to do – no sketches, nothing. There was no time for it. It was all about getting things done fast and cashing in the money. I did that for fifteen years and learned how to work speedily, but also how quality was so often sacrificed. In the end some people — including my dad — began encouraging me to start up on my own, although I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur. Not until 2011 that is — then I had a completely different idea of how I should be working with clients, and right in the middle of the economic crisis, I was fired. That proved to be the perfect opportunity to take the decisive step."
Finally Peter Kortleve could do what he really wanted to do – he took decisions intuitively and in most cases that intuition proved right, as he was able to see later. "I am a designer in heart and soul — I just love helping people with my work. Also every project I do must be something I can add to my portfolio — and in 90% that’s the case. My main concern is to support my family with my work and to be able to pay my bills. When passion and quality are top priorities, then the money follows." This Dutch creative is certainly not complaining about a lack of commissions — nor about a lack of variety. Packaging, CI's and posters, all sensitively implemented using careful typography and charming illustrations. So, what of his plans for the future? "I have just moved to a new studio, a real studio with a room where I can do screenprinting, but I don’t have enough stuff yet. Apart from that I just hope that I can stay happy and successful, and become as old and wise as Milton Glaser, and still be designing. I just love it."
My second annual Shortlife booklet & gift has been published in the second edition of 'Flaunt: Designing effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work'. A wonderful book by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit who run my most favourite blogs under the name 'Under Consideration'. So I'm honored to be featured in one of their books.