Studio Dumbar is a highly influential Dutch graphic design agency with outposts in China and Korea. Its work has helped shape, not only Dutch, but international design for over three decades.
Studio Dumbar was founded by Gert Dumbar in 1977, in the Hague. In 2003, the studio moved to Rotterdam, as Michel de Boer took over the creative direction, after Gert Dumbar’s retirement. In 2011 Liza Enebeis became the studio’s third creative director. Tom Dorresteijn, the studio’s CEO and Strategy Director since 2005, has overseen Studio Dumbar’s expansion to Shanghai (2005) and Seoul (2012).
Philosophy and influence
Studio Dumbar describes its work as ‘visual branding, online branding’, meaning that it creates every visible expression of a brand or organisation — offline and online. Its international scope is reflected in its teams, with an average of seven nationalities in Rotterdam alone.
Fragmented, sometimes complex to the edge of chaos, and layered with complex typography, many Dumbar projects caused consternation among advocates of a more ordered aesthetic. But by the late 1980s many European designers were mimicking Studio Dumbar’s approach, causing Gert Dumbar to place a moratorium on these techniques within his firm.
Projects and clientele
The studio has a comprehensive range of clients, designing everything from experimental graphics for cultural clients to corporate identity programs and literature. Its portfolio is diverse, encompassing work for a variety of clients both large and small — from business and government to cultural and non–profit.
Among the client list one can spot the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Dutch Police, TNT, Shell, Dutch Railways, KPN, Danish Post and the Dutch Government.