Having travelled to Athens, Zurich and Stockholm, in 2010 the European Design Festival arrived in Rotterdam. Whilst celebrating European design at its best, the festival also explores common ground and regional disparities, providing designers with an opportunity to meet and network. The festival also aims to raise the benchmark by awarding prizes for outstanding contributions to the industry.
When Studio Dumbar was appointed to design the visual identity, we shifted the festival’s perspective from appreciating aesthetics to provoking debate. All over the world, people were feeling the impact of the financial crisis. Strategically we were determined that design – as a profession that claims to play an important role in society – should follow suit. The design was therefore based on the visual language of protest movements and demonstrations.
Inspired by the visual language of protest movements, campaign graphics employed elements of European flags, while declarations – including ‘Reset to default settings’, ‘Make bold statements’ and ‘Who draws the line?’– were communicated with bold, hand-drawn lettering. The expressions are drawn from professional design terminology, but there’s a double meaning – they also refer to the financial crisis.
The board of the EDF was delighted with our concept, which succeeded in connecting design to present-day issues in society. The design was also well received by a target audience of demanding (and often highly critical) design professionals.