The fall and rise of Dutch design

The question 'What is Dutch graphic design now?' is harder to answer than it used to be. The Netherlands, like London, has become a Mecca for designers seeking a highly creative place to work that offers many opportunities. Dutch graphic design was once unambiguously the creation of the Dutch. Now it's produced by a multinational cast of designers who perhaps travelled there to study and stayed, or simply decided that it would make an ideal base from which to make a fresh start.

Consider a project such as Works That Work, an unusual, outward-looking design magazine that has attracted attention and admiration since it launched early in 2013. Its publisher and editor is the multi-talented Slovakian designer Peter Bil'ak, who has lived in The Hague since he completed his postgraduate studies in the 1990s at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. Bil'ak decided that he wouldn't have time to design Works That Work himself – although he set its visual direction – so he asked a local studio named Atelier Carvalho Bernau to do the job. Susana Carvalho is Portuguese; Kai Bernau is German. They have lived in The Netherlands for around a decade since studying type and media at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague.

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