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What makes Dutch digital design agencies tick (1/2)
November 5, 2021
About Dutch (digital) design. Talent. Contributing to a better world. And the future.
In a series of video snapshots, leading Dutch digital design agencies and designers share what they believe makes Dutch digital design stand out, and how to attract and keep talent. They also talk about the ways digital design can contribute to a better world, and the future of digital design. Each snapshot gives us an insight into what makes these agencies and designers tick. Brought to you by Dutch Digital Design, a collective of Dutch agencies and brands - sharing and celebrating the very best of Dutch digital work.
Contributors: Robot Kittens, Greenberry, Fabrique, Media.Monks, Kaliber, Bravoure, Ronin, Code d’Azur, KAPOOOW, Resoluut, WONDERLAND, Build in Amsterdam, Studio Dumbar, Adventure Club and Dutch Digital Design.
This is part I - about what makes Dutch (digital) design special, and attracting and keeping talent.
The strengths of Dutch (digital) design
'Being extrovert as a nation' (Amanda Boomstra - Fabrique)
The Netherlands: a design stronghold
The Netherlands have always been a stronghold when it comes to design. Designers like Gerrit Rietveld, industrial designer W H Gispen and more recently, design companies like Bugaboo and Marcel Wanders Studio, are known all over the world. And it is no different for digital design. Our Dutch Digital Design partner MediaMonks is a big player on the global (digital) stage. The Dutch gaming industry is also one not be ignored. So, what makes Dutch (digital) design so special?
A melting pot of different cultures
Tijmen Mulder (Robot Kittens) believes that being a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds helps create innovative digital experiences. As well as being good collaborators, adds Alain Dujardin (Greenberry). The Dutch are able to create digital experiences that matter, through blended, inter-disciplinary teams and a no-nonsense mentality. This seems to be the general opinion. That by being open and bold, people know exactly what they can expect. This also helps making quicker decisions.
When it comes to the actual work, Suzanne Visser (Kaliber Interactive) states that Dutch digital design is effective: it is fit for a purpose - simple but always with the end-user in mind. Anthony Thissen (Bravoure) agrees, and adds that the Dutch pragmatic approach and minimalistic aesthetics are always combined with trying to add value.
About attracting, and keeping talent
'By having a unique company culture that truly represents the people who work at your company and the work you create.’ (Nik Nieuwenhuijs - Code d'Azur)
An inclusive working environment
In a competitive and fast-moving landscape, you will need to be able to tell a credible and honest story. A story that is visible throughout everything your agency does and represents. In order to attract but also retain the right people. To create a happy working environment for those that make your agency tick. And happy employees are the best way to advertise and promote your company.
Anthony (Bravoure) adds that being real works - having a culture where what you see is what you get. At Code d’Azur they believe in a welcoming work environment where people listen and are open to all voices and beliefs. Having a low threshold and being inclusive. Suzanne (Kaliber Interactive) agrees, and feels that in order to keep the talent working with you, you need to be open and inclusive. By sharing strategies, and by listening to what everyone has to say. How everyone can help implement these strategies. Let them play an active part within the agency’s mission and vision, and acknowledge their talent.
Remco Dongor (KAPOOOW) comes from a different angle. He believes that as an agency you have the responsibility to attract new talent by finding new communities and new cultures. By listening to and understanding these new cultures - becoming part of that community, you can truly connect with them. This will bring you new talent and new ideas.
‘We do not work in silos, or like big egos. We collaborate, talk and share ideas. We allow each other freedom to experiment.’ (Jasper Tempel - Resoluut)
Freedom is key for Sebastiaan Scheer (Media.Monks). To give your designers the freedom to shape their own career, and to not put them in pre-determined boxes. Allow them to make mistakes, adds Jasper Tempel (Resoluut).
Contributing to a better world
Finally, Amanda (Fabrique) observes that the younger generation is concerned about the future of the world and the environment. Their purpose in life, but also in their job is to find ways to help and contribute to a better world. Agencies have the responsibility to help them do just that. And to clearly communicate what you, as an agency, have to offer, and deliver this together, concludes Alain (Greenberry).
For Part II about what contributing to a better world, and the future of digital design, please click here