Read the story of this designer who’s inspired by everyday family life, people’s outfits and visual languages from around the world.
A bathroom can be a place of small annoyances between partners, but it’s also a place where couples experience many intimate moments together, and where they have the chance to realise how happy they are together. These are the situations that inspired Belgian illustrator Sam Vanbelle to create a Love Edition of Curaprox toothbrushes that – Sam hopes – will become a nice present for couples, and a daily reminder to cherish each other. Meet Sam, the illustrator whose works always needs to be well-thought-out and challenging, but always with many smiles.
What was your path to becoming a designer?
I loved to draw as a kid. I was thinking about studying architecture, but then I visited the illustration department… High school was dull and boring for me. But studying illustration at university felt right from the first day. Right after my studies – 15 years ago – I worked as an editorial designer and from there I slowly moved to being a freelance illustrator. Illustration is something I love dearly. It brightens up my days and I feel very lucky to have it as my job.
What type of projects do you usually work on now? And what do you enjoy the most?
I work on commercial stuff as well as non-profit stuff. I work for brands, but also for the city of Antwerp – where I live. I love to make welcoming pictures that are visible throughout the whole city.
In general I love to make well-thought-out stuff that is easy to read, but also a bit challenging. I also teach at the art school Sint Lucas Antwerpen, and really enjoy it. It’s cool to see students and kids developing themselves.
“I love to make well-thought-out stuff that is easy to read, but also a bit challenging.”
What inspires you?
I love to walk around in the city, looking at the cool clothes people wear, fun colour combinations, weird food advertisements, clunky DIY typeface. Daily life and time spent with my little kid and girlfriend inspires me too. And when the pandemic isn’t around, I love to travel, and soak in the different visual languages used abroad. I also love to spend hours in bookshops, especially in the section with picture books.
What are your daily rituals that you can’t imagine your day without?
Showering. Putting on a well-ironed shirt. Having a good coffee, some fruit and a slice of good bread in the morning. Sharing food with my kid and girlfriend during the day. Playing around a bit. And going to bed with freshly brushed teeth.
“A bathroom can be a place of typical annoyances between lovers: toothpaste left open, dirty clothes on the floor… But it’s also a place where couples spend some daily intimate time together.”
What’s the idea behind your Love Edition of toothbrushes? What did you want to express?
A bathroom can be a place of typical annoyances between lovers: toothpaste left open, dirty clothes on the floor… But it’s also a place where couples spend some daily intimate time together.
I think there’s nothing nicer than seeing your lover, even after many years and thinking: “Whoah, you’re gorgeous, I’m so lucky you’re still mine!” And then as a cherry on the cake: a kiss with freshly brushed teeth! These are the things that I connect with love and toothbrushing.
How did you choose the colours for your edition of toothbrushes?
I wanted colours that fit for all the genders. But also two colours that were quite close to each other. A bit queer, and a bit festive with the gold.
What was the biggest challenge of this design?
The final part – fitting the illustration between the text, logo, and toothbrushes.
How would you like people to think about your toothbrushes?
As a nice present for their partners. And as a small, beautiful reminder to cherish their partner, lover, bathroom mate.
Did you know Curaprox before the collaboration? How do you perceive the brand?
I hadn’t seen Curaprox products at the pharmacy, but I love their timeless design. And I wish I didn’t have ten new toothbrushes left, so I could immediately switch to Curaprox.
Is there any dream product that you would like to collaborate on?
I would love to make decorations for kids’ rooms. And toys – what a dream!
Sam Vanbelle is a Belgian illustrator, based in Antwerp. They love to make well-thought-out illustrations with simple forms, a few well-chosen colours and a lot of smiling faces. Sam cares about diversity and shows a wide variety of people in their illustrations. They draw for brands, publishing houses, advertising and communication agencies, non-profit organisations, cities, magazines, newspapers, and others. To see more of Sam’s works, follow them on Instagram or visit their website.
Photos: Michiel Devijver