Go Dutch

I’ve always loved the pure design and typography from the Netherlands. Filled with a balance of beautiful form and practical function, and wonderfully obvious information hierarchy, Dutch design always evokes an emotional reaction within me. Granted, my personality slants heavily toward organization, logic, and simplicity. But I’m so often amazed at how the Dutch can seamlessly combine order of information with an individual expression unique to every design and designer. Much of my influence comes directly from Dutch design.

In my first year at HotWired, I had a taste of real-world Dutch design while working in the same design group as Max Kisman. Max is a well-known designer and illustrator from the Netherlands who worked for HotWired in the mid-1990′s. He’s especially known for his explorative iconography and symbolism. Many of the early playful logos and icons of HotWired are to his credit. By the time I arrived in 1996, he wasn’t coming into the office all that much, but I did get to listen to him talk and explain his rationale for design decisions now and then.

[thumnail screenshot of Cinnamon Interactive] Cinnamon Interactive B.V. [site entirely in Dutch] is a design agency based in the Netherlands with a beautiful site design. The site is done entirely using valid XHTML 1.0 Strict for markup and CSS for presentation. They pay close attention to detail, including the un-styled design that appears in older browsers. They even include tabindex‘s and accesskey‘s for their “skip-link” navigation (visually hidden in browsers that correctly render stylesheets). Not everything is perfect on the site, but I’m still quite impressed nonetheless. Wonderful imagery in each section header — I can almost taste the cinnamon sprinkled into a warm latte. Although I can’t translate the copywriting throughout the site, their Portfolio is definitely worth a browse-through.