May we introduce our heads of curation. Meet Jop Quirindongo, designer and owner of Lowres Creative Studio - and Esmée Lechner, design director at Media.Monks. They have recently joined the ranks of Dutch Digital Design, and are following in the footsteps of Rolf Coppens, our previous head of curation. We had a chat with them about what makes them tick, how they ended up In digital design and their favourite Dutch digital design cases.
The road to digital design
Esmée: ‘I was influenced by my dad from an early age. He’s a graphic designer. Therefore, design has always been centre stage in my family. We visited a lot of museums, and I was always busy being creative.
My first experience with digital design was my early experimentation with Photoshop. Both for school and in my own spare time. I also dipped my toe in CSS and HTML - two cornerstone technologies of the World Wide Web, and I liked it. So much so that I started a multimedia course at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Because I genuinely loved it. Not knowing this would still be my fulltime job ten years later.
After this I started as an intern designer at Proximity/BBDO because I was curious about the world of advertising. I loved the fact that I could help make something that could add value or solve something.
I worked at various advertising agencies for ten years. Learned lots but was slightly frustrated how the technical, digital side was always outsourced. Especially as I was interested in the interaction of the user with what we created. So, I joined Superhero Cheesecake - a digital experience studio that focused on creating interactive experiences. I am now at Media.Monks. Here we try to really connect with the user by creating immersive, interactive experiences through design, motion and technology.’
Jop: ‘Well, I was good at drawing. Did a lot of drawing. But ended up doing a music therapy course. This wasn’t a 100% match. Loved the music. Not the therapy. However, I did get a chance to play around with computers whilst on the course, and realised that I loved designing on a computer. My first bits of handy work were CD-covers.
So, I stopped with the music therapy course and enrolled at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht at the digital media design faculty in Hilversum. I loved making things on the computer. I also experimented with HTML. And because this study was a pilot we could literally try anything. Great! I realised that I definitely preferred design to programming and editing. Although, to this day, it is still an advantage that I did learn how to do this too.
After college I started working for a record company designing materials for events, covers and websites, and eventually also ended up in advertising. That was fun. The projects were cool, and I loved coming up with creative concepts. However, design was really my thing, especially designing brand identities. I missed being part of something bigger, something longer lasting. To take part in the creation of a brand. I also realised that digital was the future. So, putting two and two together, I started my own studio where I could digitally design brand identities to my heart’s content.’
What makes you tick?
Jop: ‘To create impact. To create something meaningful that has a lasting, positive effect. For example, I love Tikkie - a Dutch payment app. I love how it works, but also its simplicity. How it makes our lives easier in a really simple but efficient way. GoSpooky is another one of my favourites - a social-first agency that looks at way to go beyond the way social content is created and consumed.’
Esmée: ‘Same here. Creating an impact, especially social impact. My favourite at the moment is Feelee - an app that helps youngsters understand their feelings and emotions through the use of emojis. We recently featured this case on our Dutch Digital Design website. Again, a simple idea with an incredibly impactful message.’
Plans for Dutch Digital Design
Jop and Esmée: ‘To curate and feature more outstanding Dutch digital design - from interactive installations and e-commerce platforms to art and commercial projects.
Our aim is to continue to share a broad spectrum of amazing and impactful Dutch digital design cases. Delve deeper into how it’s made but also why it’s made. To share these with a large audience - from our website and social media channels to national newspapers and design magazines.’