Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Why is Dutch Digital Design Totally Kicking Ass?

Digital Agency
Amsterdam, Netherlands
MediaMonks’ Wesley ter Haar and DDB & Tribal’s Bram Holzapfel discuss

Wesley ter Haar, Founder & COO of MediaMonks, and Bram Holzapfel, Creative Director at DDB & Tribal Amsterdam were at last night’s inaugural Dutch Digital Design event to talk about their KLM Space project.  The award-winning project allowed participants to make online predictions about a high altitude balloon to win a real ticket to space. LBB’s Laura Swinton caught up with them to find out more about the project and find out why Amsterdam is leading the way in digital.

LBB>How would you characterise Dutch digital design? Do you think there’s something unique about it, if so, what is it?

Bram Holzapfel> “Dutch design somehow always manages to capture the essence of shape and form. And there’s always a tendency to let function lead the way to inspire and take it from there. This marriage of function and clean design, together with the determination to elevate the story behind the campaign, is what makes Dutch design stand out.”

LBB> And how do you think Amsterdam’s digital output compares to the rest of the world?

Wesley ter Haar> We are top-notch and compete on a global level with the best in the market. We’re no longer the quiet kid in the back of the classroom. Top digital campaigns have been recognized and awarded internationally by FWA, Lovies, Cannes Lions, Eurobest and many more.

LBB> What digital trends and platforms are getting you excited at the moment?

Wesley> We see entertainment growing as the driving force behind digital success and engagement. Digital no longer stands alone, it’s building bridges in a world where entertainment can be enjoyed on any screen, at any time.

LBB>This is the first Dutch Digital Design event – what were you hoping to see from it?

Bram> We were expecting to see an amazing wealth of talent and variety of different achievements from this tiny country. It’s typically Dutch to keep your head down after making great work. This event gives us a chance to showcase the best pieces.

LBB> You were talking about your project for KLM Space – what were the main challenges you faced bringing it to life?

Wesley> “Bringing a campaign of such calibre to life was a crazily ambitious challenge. It involved creating internet in the desert where there was none, as well as creating a comprehensible interface to let people claim their place in space. Apart from that, a futuristic design language that was both simple and inspiring needed to be developed.”

Bram> Involving space travel naturally meant that every aspect of this digital experience needed to be as engaging and impressive as the actual space flight that could be won. The challenges didn’t limit themselves to just our agencies but also everyone else involved. We had to rethink the way we worked to take into account all the risks and different types of talent involved, form aerospace engineers to motion graphics designers. The project felt like planning an actual space flight - a complex operation.

LBB> And what sort of insights and lessons did you take from it?

Bram> This is one of the most challenging projects that we’ve done together. But as goes to show, great things come from pushing for that extra mile.

Wesley> This is the way to work. More please!

LBB> The theme of the show is ‘Made In Holland’ – which Dutch work have you seen recently that’s been really cool and interesting?

Wesley> ’Sweetie’ by Lemz is awesome. It shows how far digital storytelling has come.  The campaign being that successful, thanks to brilliant digital design, shows how impactful digital design can be.

Terre des Hommes - Sweetie Case film from Lemz on Vimeo.