Studio Dumbar l Michel de Boer, Tom Dorresteijn

Studio Dumbar awarded the red dot: grand prix

Michel de Boer and Tom Dorresteijn belong to the winners of this year`s red dot award: communication design. Having been recognized with a red dot: grand prix for their poster series "Amsterdam Sinfonietta", they are among the best designers of the red dot award: communication design 2006. They spoke with us about their award an their work.


The poster series were designed for the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, an independent ensemble mostly consisting of young musicians. Each individual concert differs in repertoire, musicians and atmosphere, and this is incorporated in the design. Apart from the distinct logo, which is a consistent element placed in the upper left- or right-hand corner, the musical themes are interpreted graphically by taking up content-related associations in the imagery, for example visualising the concert “lyrische suite” (lyrical suite) with poetic elements.

Michel de Boer and Tom Dorresteijn, how do you visualise a music programme?

The emotional quality of the music is regarded as the most important starting point for visualising a music programme. The imagery is an interpretation of this atmosphere. Form and colour are derived from it. If you visualise each individual concert in this way, you run the risk that the posters may no longer be identifiable as a series. Therefore the greatest challenge lies in discovering the boundaries between the connecting identity of the ensemble and the respective individual interpretations of a concert. Furthermore, when it comes to classical music it is above all important to keep focused on your target group on the one hand and on the other hand to avoid the usual clichés such as showing composers, musicians or instruments.

What does the award red dot: best of the best and the nomination for the red dot: grand prix mean to you?

It means the recognition of our Studio’s ambition; striving for highest possible creativity and design quality – always and everywhere.

What are your future plans as a designer?

Never stop growing further in discovering.

What are the challenges a designer faces today?

Building bridges between design and society; between design and business life.

What economic significance does design have for you?

Design is one of the most essential tools for modern businesses.

Who are your role models in the field of design?

Sorry, no one really.


About Michel de Boer and Tom Dorresteijn

Michel de Boer, born in 1954, studied at Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts. In 1980, he began working as a designer at Studio Dumbar, where he has been creative managing partner since 1989. He received numerous international distinctions, among them two D&AD Gold Awards, seven D&AD Silver Awards and several red dot design awards. He is a member of international juries and has held guest lectures all around the world. Michel de Boer is a board member of the Association of Dutch Designers (BNO), a member of the Designers and Art Directors Association (D&AD) as well as the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI). Since 2005, he has been professor of corporate identity at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV) in Venice, Italy.

Tom Dorresteijn, born in 1962, studied communication studies. He then worked at the public relations agency Van Luyken and in 1992 he became head of the communication department of the Gak Group. From 1997 to 1999, he worked for the board of the FHV/BBDO advertising agency. As an independent strategy expert he then became partner of Studio Dumbar, whose strategic director he is today. Tom Dorresteijn is a member of international juries and design associations and has recently become head of the Association of Dutch Designers (BNO). This year he became co-professor of corporate identity at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV) in Venice together with Michel de Boer.