The third in a series of short interviews introducing inspiring creative ‘digital’ design ladies who dared to leap into the unknown and made the Netherlands their home. Meet Liza Enebeis. Born in the UK, grew up in Greece, studied in Paris and London, and now lives in Rotterdam. Liza is creative director at Studio Dumbar (part of Dept), a Dutch branding agency specialising in visual identity and motion.
On her way to the Netherlands
Whilst studying in Paris, Liza was looking for an internship in design. She always liked the sound (and look) of Dutch design. To her, it felt like the Dutch were prepared to take bigger risks, and liked experimenting.
To find her perfect internship Liza did a lot of research and reading. A particular agency caught her eye: Studio Dumbar in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She approached them and they offered her a place. However, after her internship she decided to continue studying, and completed a Master’s in Design at the famous Royal College of Art in London.
Liza loved London, with all its diversity and energy. So, she decided to experience life ‘as a Londoner’ a little longer, and found her first job there, at renowned design studio Pentagram.
‘Pentagram felt like the British Museum of design to me. A real eye-opener. I was in awe of the things I saw and learned there. It inspired me.’
So, why the Netherlands?
But the Netherlands were still in the back of her mind. She loved the Dutch approach to design, and was keen to experience and be part of it again. So, after nine years in London, Liza returned to the Netherlands, initially working for a small design agency in The Hague. However, she had not forgotten about Studio Dumbar. The agency that truly impressed her. She returned to work with them in 2008 as a designer. Liza is now creative director at Studio Dumbar and, after 12 years, still feels inspired by the work they create.
Greece. France. UK. The Netherlands. What makes the (design) difference?
‘It’s all about a country’s mentality and culture that determines their attitude to design.’
When Liza was growing up in Greece, design was pretty much still in development. When speaking about design, people were mostly referring to advertising. Also, in Paris you either focused on advertising or design. Design was still seen as niche, not as a commercial movement, but as something that came from art. In the UK, Liza felt that design was mostly idea-driven and focusing on copy, on words first. (The) design would follow on from that. This was the big pull towards Dutch design. Design was and still is a stand-alone movement.
‘The Dutch approach to work and design feels liberating. There is a sense of equality, and honesty. All ideas are welcome. Everyone is contributing to a bigger whole. But don’t be afraid to be told if it doesn’t work for them. However, their to-the-point attitude makes things simpler, faster, and, in general, gives better results.’
This feeling of collectiveness is a reflection of the Dutch mentality and culture: honest, open, and entitled to your own opinion, - and can also be found at Studio Dumbar.
‘Even though our team is quite international, it is deeply rooted in us as a studio, and all ingredients are equally important. We are determined to find the best possible solution, always with an open mind. We're not trying to convince clients, or sell concepts. Together with our clients, we recognise what is the strongest and most appealing idea.’
...Amsterdam-based, interactive design studio Studio Moniker. Their objective is to research the social effects of technology. How we use technology and how it influences our daily lives.
‘Studio Moniker are autonomous in their approach. Constantly pushing boundaries. Experimental. But still aesthetically pleasing. A lot of their projects are self-initiated as a response to an issue. Truly inspiring.’