The ACA Championship Launched My Freelance Design Career

When you think of the Netherlands, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you thought about bikes, tulips, or windmills, you’re probably not alone. But if you thought about amazing design and art, you wouldn’t be alone either. The Netherlands has a fantastic art and design scene, and students from around the country are gaining skills to prepare them for a successful design career.

Boris Lammertse is one of many students using an Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certification to give him an advantage over other designers. Find out how his certification and his participation in the ACA World Championship has helped him jump-start his career as a freelance graphic designer.

Certiport: Thanks for sharing your story with us, Boris! We’re so excited to hear more about your experience.

Boris: Thanks for having me. I hope other students can benefit from hearing my story.

Certiport: Let’s paint the background for our readers. When did you first know that you wanted to pursue a career in graphic design?

Boris: I used to draw all the time! I drew in class, on vacation, and at home. So, I knew I wanted to do something with drawing and art. That’s why I chose to attend the Graphic Lyceum in Rotterdam. I started with the end goal of doing game art, but after a while I noticed that graphic design was much more intriguing than game art for me.

Certiport: And you’ve now completed your school training, correct?

Boris: Yes. I graduated this year as graphic designer. I followed the Visualization specialization, where I received extra lessons in Illustrating. Now that I’ve finished school, I’ve started working as a freelance graphic designer, photographer and artist for different companies.

Certiport: That’s great! What was the process like to learn and master Adobe Illustrator? Did it come easily for you?

Boris: When I started my education as a graphic designer, we got lessons in Illustrator from the very beginning. I already had some experience with drawing on the computer but most of the time I used paint. But when I discovered that Adobe Illustrator works with vectors instead of pixels, a world opened for me! So I was very interested in the program and I wanted to know everything about it. At school I learned the basics and if I didn’t know how to do something I searched for it on YouTube. I definitely think that having a passion for design programs like Illustrator helped me understand things more easily.

Boris at the ACA Championship

Certiport: And obviously you were passionate and skilled enough to make it to the ACA World Championship! How has participating in the competition helped your design career?

Boris: It gave my company a huge boost actually! As soon as I was named the ACA Dutch Champion, I made sure to share it on social media. Those posts reached a ton of people and received over 500 likes! After that, I had so many companies reach out to hire me. After earning my certification and participating in the competition, I now have enough work to be a full-time freelance designer.

Certiport: What was it like to compete in the competition? Were you nervous?

Boris: I was nervous but I had worked hard to master my skills. Plus, going to America was always a big dream for me. Being able to live out my dream and combine that with my passion for graphic design, it was absolutely amazing. It was such a life-changing experience.

Certiport: What advice would you give to other students looking to become freelance graphic designers?

Boris: There’s so much advice that I want to share! Make sure you jump above the rest by having a unique style. Make good use of social media and make sure you network with people who can help you move forward in your education and career. If you aren’t getting jobs at first, offer your work free of charge in the beginning. If you do well, your clients will come back and pay you! And last but not least don’t give up and go for your goals! Things may not always come naturally, I speak from experience, but you can do it!

Find out more about participating in the ACA Championship by visiting