Dutch Design Series Featuring: BRUMdesign

by Jessica Deseo on 11/14/2016 | 4 Minute Read

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Agency: BRUMdesign Brand: Jan

Today we are featuring BRUMdesign an agency based out of Netherlands and highlighting their client Jan. 

Tell us about your agency?BRUMdesign is a unique design agency specialized in packaging. In the green heart of The Netherlands, we put co-creation at the heart of our open process. Our designers take the clients on an adventure and make their dreams come true. Even better than they had expected. Our designs jump from the shelves, linger in your mind and communicate the story behind the product in a split second.

How did all start? What did the initiators want to achieve?BRUMdesign was founded already in 1974 as one of the first agencies to be specialized in packaging design. The two founders brought graphic and industrial design together under the company name Brummelkamp & Hoekstra. At that time all designs were hand painted and the fax was a major invention. From the beginning, the designs had the power of conceptual simplicity.In 2006 designers Marcel Wammes and Willem van Roozendaal took over the company from the founders and moved the company from an old commanders’ house to an industrial former printer’s building. It was than that the name was ‘chopped’ to become the short and strong name that we have today, BRUM.In 2016 strategist Pieter Steenaert and designer Tessa Oudijn became the third couple of owners. They develop the agency to what is needed today, an agile and personal agency with short communication lines and maximum creativity. 16 people now work for more than 60 clients per year, from international retailers to small startups.

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What is your showcase? What can you tell us about it? Jan is a famous Dutch brand for ready-made plain and filled pancakes and the typical Dutch mini-pancakes called poffertjes. The current packaging design was made in 2009 and the first hand-illustrated design in the market, long before this freestyle and foodtruck trend became popular. 

What was your solution?The pancake bakery wanted to emphasize that they come closest to home-made as possible. They asked for a modern Dutch feel that stands out and is a pleasure to buy. BRUM came up with the idea to make the packaging as if the founder of the company, Jan, had drawn them himself at the kitchen table. With a good sense of humor, because he illustrates funny situations with farm animals like cows, pigs, sheep and chicken. In a sort of modern hand sketched Delft Blue. The result is one of the most loved brands in Holland. Jan has really stolen their hearts.

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Why is this work so special and what does it say about your agency? This work is exceptional because it was and still is leading other design agencies and marketers to rethink their design strategy. 

BRUM and the client have challenged each other to think further and further in strategic design solutions. The outcome was not only suitable for packaging, but also for a unique corporate identity. It has set the whole tone-of-voice of the company and is now even used to post messages on Facebook. The client had the guts to do it completely differently and it worked out. That is what makes this work exceptional and inspiring for other design agencies and marketers.A funny anecdote is that the first illustrations, made by a professional illustrator, looked too good. It was not credible a being done by Jan. Now someone who is not a designer makes them. And for the proper handling of the lines, all illustrations are made with an old-school ballpoint and then scanned.

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What makes the design Dutch?This design is typical Dutch because it is actually not over-designed, but the result of a great conceptual idea. The core of Dutch design is to really focus on one concept and base the total idea on it. With this, the design will get the power of conceptual simplicity.

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