Kate of the Week: Meet Kate VandenBerghe, designer/illustrator and cookie baker

There are so many fascinating Kates out there. And every week, Kate-book.com is resolving to introduce you to a new one. This week, I would like you to meet Kate VandenBerghe of San Francisco, Calif. Without further ado, 13 questions with Kate.

What do you do?

I’m a designer and illustrator working in San Francisco. I also have a blog about my various creative exploits called Read Make Do.

How did you get started in your line of work or study?

When I was growing up, I knew I either wanted to be a dog, or I wanted to be an illustrator and “work on the computer”. Well, since being a dog wasn’t going to pan out (bummer), I decided to pursue illustrating. I was a Studio Art major in college and fell in love with printmaking & digital media (which in my mind have more in common than people would think), and after that went to grad school and got my MFA in Design. I am thankful every single day that I am doing exactly what I have always wanted to do.

What’s something you wish people knew or understood better about what you do?

I think being a Designer is a lot more strategy-based than most people would realize. There is definitely a huge element to the work that involves making beautiful things, but designing is like writing in a lot of ways. There needs to be a solid thesis behind what you are communicating, and then you build everything from there.

In an ideal world, where making a living weren’t an issue, what would you be doing?

I love making things: Drawings, cookies, whatever. I’m sure I’d be constantly making something. Also, I’d like to have a small farm. I raised livestock as a kid, and it’s always something I’ve wanted to get back into one day.

What’s a band, television show, book, or movie that you hope Kate-book readers will go watch, listen to, or read RIGHT NOW?

All three “Body Talk albums” by Robyn are incredible. I would tell every single Kate-book reader to go watch the music video for “Call Your Girlfriend” RIGHT NOW, learn the dance, and meet me in a warehouse in their finest fuzzy crop top, prepared for greatest dance party of their lives.

[Editor's note: Also make sure to watch the 'SNL' spoof. Amazing.]

What’s your favorite stop to make on a road trip?

My friend Mitch and I stopped in a small town called Hopland in Northern California, on our way up to Arcata. It was spookily charming. It was so cute, it seemed like it couldn’t be real. So I’d like to stop there again, and get a chocolate milkshake.

Who is your celebrity doppelganger?

No celebrities, sad to say. I do have a TON of doppelgangers though, just in the normal world. A few times a year I’ll get a frantic phone call from a friend asking if I was just riding a bike near the Eiffel Tower, or catering a wedding they’re at in Atlanta, or creeping up behind them in an alleyway. Nope, sorry, not me. Okay, maybe that last one.

What’s the first concert you ever went to?

The Beach Boys, featuring John Stamos. I had no clue who the Beach Boys were (except that they played the song “Kokomo,” but they didn’t play it as well as the Muppets), but I DEFINITELY knew who Uncle Jessie from “Full House” was.

If you were forced to get a tattoo right at this moment, what would you get?

A portrait of Uncle Jessie from Full House. And then probably this.

What’s your favorite thing about your name?

My full name is Katelyn, but my parents named me with the intention of always calling me Kate. They wanted something longer to call me, so I knew when things were serious. I like that Kate is a strong name. Kate is a name that has femininity to it, while also being very respectable. It’s timeless, and a name that feels appropriate at any age.

Your least favorite thing about your name?

A couple of years ago, Katelyn became a REALLY popular name. While I’m really excited for the next generation of Kates, it seemed like every time I went to a Target, or grocery store, some mom was yelling “KATELYN!!!” across the store. It was stressful, I constantly felt like I was being yelled at. Luckily, that’s died down.

Who is your favorite famous Kate?

Blanchett. Or maybe Winslet. Both of them are incredible actresses. At some point in the future, I feel like they’re both going to have to go head-to-head to see who’s the next Meryl Streep. May the best Kate win.

Tell me about a Kate out there who you wish were a household name.

I come from a long line of Kathleens. I was named after my mom (Katelyn is the 1980s version of Kathleen), who was named after her mom, and probably back until the beginning of time. When I think about Kates who are a big deal to me, I’d say the women in my family are the tops. Kates are great!

Know a Kate, Caty, Katherine, or Catelynn who needs to be Kate of the Week? Awesome! Send me a tip at kate.torgovnick@gmail.com. I will be in touch with them soon.

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One thought on “Kate of the Week: Meet Kate VandenBerghe, designer/illustrator and cookie baker

  1. katetorg says:

    For the record, Kate, I would like to say that your celebrity doppelganger is definitely Rachel Bilson. Just sayin’.

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