Original Interview: August 2017

Vruchtvlees

The guys at  Vruchtvlees like to dream big!  Stepping out from the crowd, back in the day, by believing that Dutch Design could flourish in the digital world Vruchtvlees began. Believing you need to constantly evolve and challenge your skillset as they do with in their team to push themselves to be the best design driven agency in the world! We love that 😀 dream big and never settle.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.
Vruchtvlees is a digital creative agency, driven by design. We give courageous brands a striking new look. We don’t create identities but build strategic style guidelines. Crystal clear websites that capture your imagination. Designs that communicate at every level. Because not only do you want your audience to take action, you want them to cherish your brand; from conversion to devotion, from love at first sight to happily ever after. Not to be loud, but to be outspoken. How do we that? To critically examine the question, not just looking for an answer. Together we jump into the deep end, finding an answer to your question that suits you best. Whether that’s on a screen, A4 sheet or business card. It’s the only way to ensure your design and strategy is the perfect fit.

What role does digital design play in your studio in 2017, and how to you apply traditional graphic design skills in a digital age?
At Vruchtvlees, digital design is at the core of our business. When we studied, the academy pretended internet was not a thing. We were educated in becoming a classical autonomous graphic designer, not taking modern techniques into account. Now there is a lot more attention to webdesign in the academy. For us, whether working on- or offline, the conceptual and autonomous view is still very important. That’s something you either have, or you don’t. That view is what you learn at the academy, just like the old days.

We began Vruchtvlees after the shared insight that there was a role for graphic design in the fast-paced digital world. The design agencies at the time were either specialised in technical digital work, or designing for printed matter. At Vruchtvlees we aim to combine these elements to show that Dutch Design (renowned for all over the world) could also flourish in the digital world. For us design is not just a pretty image, it is a tool to perfect the interaction between brand and audience. To create a story that immerses and engages audiences with a brand. With success we might add, we were rewarded 10 design awards for projects like the digital Literatuurmuseum, the rebranding of De Munt/La Monnaie (an opera house) and voordekunst (crowdfunding platform for the arts)

What do you look for in a great portfolio?
We always have room for two design interns. If you’d like to work for us we are looking for a diverse portfolio. We think it’s important to always be eager to discover new things and continuously evolve your knowledge and skillsets. What we look for in our designers is the ability to create (digital) concepts and designs, that transcend execution. We are looking for a portfolio that shows knowledge of typography, imagery and the ability to create concepts that have impact. Mostly, we’d like to see digital applications of design. The digital world enables designers to think in movement, experience, context and interaction to tell a complete story instead of tackling one element in the chain.

Who’s on the team, what are their roles and why do you love them?
We have, or bring, all of the necessary skills in-house. We have a diverse team of developers, designers, strategists, project managers and marketers. For every project we build a team that’s flexible and creative. We value each other’s ideas; that’s how we continue to challenge each other and make sure we bring out the best in all of us. Together we are working to become the best design driven-agency in the world. From wild ideas to realistic creations, we dream big!

Tell us about any projects you have been working on.
Lately we have shifted our focus from traditional graphic design to digital design. That lead us to initiate some dream projects like the online Literatuurmuseum, the rebranding of Dutch Design label Prooff and the brand strategy and identity for Theater Rotterdam. For all these projects we tackled every part of their identity: from art direction to web development and from copy guidelines to Facebook headers.

The Literatuurmuseum is the first museum of its kind. The literary museum in The Hague has an enormous archive which is not accessible for the public. A pity, because the stories hidden in the archive are well-worth sharing. Therefore, we collaborated on a brand new online storytelling platform that unlocks the stories of the archive, telling it in a multimedia way. For every story, we form an editorial team consisting of a curator, web developer, designer, interaction designer and writer. Via SCRUM the editorial team decide how the story is going to be told. The comments on the online museum are overwhelming. The target of a 100.000 visitors in the first year was already reached after 4 months, rapidly the literary community grew to over 19.000 fans on Facebook.

Other than the Literatuurmuseum, Prooff already had an established name across architects and designers in the field. Although the label works on improving creativity and productivity at work, their identity was really scientific. We re-imagined the brand and made it more human. By adding color and providing guidelines, Prooff is now also looking to create a dialogue online. The whole brand opens up a conversation, shaping the future of work one step at a time.

What has been your highlights since you started out?
We have multiple things that we are very proud of:

  • The first time we worked on an international project: the identity, website and campaign for De Munt/La Monnaie
  • The time we won 6 European Design Awards in one night
  • The creation of the digital museum for the stories hidden in an enormous archive of Dutch writers and illustrators.
  • Building a team of 12 young creatives to create more impact and take on bigger projects.
  • Talking about our work at the Adobe Creative Meet-Up, for 800+ people.
  • The success of our own event High Five about tech and design
  • And last but not least, to win pitches and beat agencies that have always inspired us.

Website: vruchtvlees.com
Instagram: @vruchtvlees
Twitter: @vruchtvlees