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Introducing four inspiring digital design women who made the Netherlands their home
26 June 2020 9:07am
A strategist from India. A designer from France. A creative director from the UK. And an executive producer from New Zealand.
Dutch Digital Design – a collective of Dutch agencies and brands sharing and celebrating the very best of Dutch digital work – published a series of short interviews on their website introducing four inspiring digital ladies who dared to leap into the unknown and made the Netherlands their home. Here are some extracts from all four interviews telling us why these women opted for a digital design career in the Netherlands.
Let’s start with a brief introduction.
Nishita Tamuly. Senior strategist at Dutch digital experience agency Your Majesty. Originally from Pune, a city in Western India, and known for the Aga Khan Palace, a memorial to the inspirational Mahatma Gandhi.
Joséphine Cambier. From Lille, Northern France, living and working in Amsterdam. She studied Communication Design in Paris, and is now senior designer at Dutch digital creative agency GRRR.
Liza Enebeis - born in the UK, grew up in Greece, studied in Paris and London - now lives in Rotterdam. Liza is creative director at Studio Dumbar (part of Dept), a Dutch branding agency specialising in visual identity and motion.
Jena Fenwick. All the way from New Zealand. Executive producer at digital experience design studio Resn. From a degree in Communications at Auckland University of Technology to an internship in Hong Kong – with a 2-year stopover in London, Jena now lives and works in Amsterdam.
How did they end up in the Netherlands?
Photo by Javier M. on Unsplash
About six years ago Nishita decided she wanted to explore the world. First port of call: the BIG apple, New York City. Here she started her career as a strategist, and although she loved her job and NYC with its endless opportunities, life was fast and the hours were crazy. Time for a little reflection. Was this the work-life balance she was after? In 2019 she decided to find out whether she could find that work-life balance in the Netherlands.
'An interesting place to be, in all aspects. People and agencies seem to thrive on creativity and diversity.'
Nishita is enamoured by the ‘balance in everything’ in the Netherlands, their lifestyle and attitude to work - resulting in a healthy work-life balance.
Joséphine got offered a 6-month scholarship for an internship in the EU. Whilst spending six months in Denmark, Joséphine felt an affinity with clean, simple design. Something she was keen to explore further. She was also looking for a place as energetic as Paris, but not as manic. Amsterdam it was! She arrived in 2014 and is still here.
Also Joséphine was attracted to the Dutch work-life balance and their nine-to-five (thirty) mentality. One of the things she really likes is the fact that everyone has the opportunity to work part-time. It is socially accepted.
'People can choose to work part-time – whether with or without kids. To dedicate their time to other projects they love doing. This makes for happier people. Also, in general, it is not expected you work late – as it is in Paris.'
She finds that the Dutch can be brutally honest at times. However, she can live with the Dutch directness. She even appreciates it, especially at work.
'Honest feedback enables you to make progress quicker, and deliver better quality work.'
Liza was looking for an internship in design, whilst studying in Paris. She always liked the sound (and look) of Dutch design. To her, it felt like the Dutch were prepared to take bigger risks and liked experimenting.
Studio Dumbar in Rotterdam caught her eye. She approached them and they offered her a place. However, after her internship she decided to continue studying and completed a Master’s in Design at the renowned Royal College of Art in London.
But the Netherlands was still in the back of her mind. So, after nine years in London, Liza returned to the Netherlands as a designer. Liza is now creative director at Studio Dumbar.
Jena was after a city with a similar vibrancy to London, but also a growing number of digital opportunities - aware that this market was growing rapidly. No longer was digital just an after-thought. Digital was taking the lead.
'The Netherlands is not only a creative hub for global brands and agencies in Europe, it is also at the forefront of digital innovation. Moreover, they value the importance of enjoying life, but also the need to work hard. In that sense, the culture is accommodating to the ebbs and flows of our industry.'
About the Dutch attitude to (digital) design
Photo: VanMoof, an example of functional Dutch design, incorporating the latest technology
'There seems to be a genuine interest and excitement to incorporate new technology in everything the Dutch do. There is a true intent to know ‘what’s next’. The Dutch are open-minded and entrepreneurial. Their openness feels native.'
Joséphine feels that the Dutch are very design-orientated. You see this everywhere you go. For example, the design of the Dutch postage stamps, the logo of the Dutch public transport. They have a modern design feel and get the message across. That’s the power of design. In countries like Spain, Italy and France design derives much more from art and fashion. It is not as much a stand-alone movement as it is in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands it feels more functional.
'It’s all about a country’s mentality and culture that determines their attitude to design. The Dutch approach to work and design feels liberating. There is a sense of equality, and honesty. All ideas are welcome. Everyone is contributing to a bigger whole.'
Who or what inspires them?
'I was already fascinated by The Fabricant when I was in NYC. How exciting to find out that they are working with Your Majesty. I am truly inspired by the co-founder and creative director, Amber Slooten, whose dream is producing digital-only fashion.'
The Fabricant is a Dutch digital-only fashion house. Fashion that has no physical counterpart. You only wear it online. It is the ultimate in sustainable fashion. How does it work? Digital-only fashion is popular on social media channels, like Instagram and TikTok, and in gaming (fashion skins). But is also used for sampling purposes. It takes away the need to produce physical one-off samples.
'GRRR as an agency focuses on meaningful matters. Things that matter to the world. This is inspiring and creates a positive attitude at work. It also shapes the team that we are.'
Joséphine is inspired by one of GRRR’s clients, The Ocean Cleanup, a non-governmental, engineering and environmental organisation based in the Netherlands. They focus on developing technology to extract plastic pollution from the oceans.
'Studio Moniker are autonomous in their approach. Constantly pushing boundaries. Experimental. But still aesthetically pleasing. A lot of their projects are self-initiated as a response to an issue. Truly inspiring.'
Studio Moniker are an Amsterdam-based, interactive design studio. Their objective is to research the social effects of technology. How we use technology and how it influences our daily lives.
'Sea Shepherd are protectors of the sea, engaging in direct action campaigns to defend wildlife, and conserve and protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction.'
Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit marine conservation organisation. Jena first worked with Sea Shepherd when developing their new website. She’s inspired by their passion, drive and what they represent.
Full interviews can be read on dutchdigital.design