Studio Dumbar

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Studio Dumbar is a highly influential Dutch graphic design agency with a long heritage. Its work has helped shape, not only Dutch, but international design for over four decades.[1]


Studio Dumbar was founded by Gert Dumbar in 1977, in the Hague.[2] In 2003, the studio moved to Rotterdam, as Michel de Boer took over the creative direction, after Gert Dumbar’s retirement. In 2011 Liza Enebeis became the studio’s third creative director.[3] Tom Dorresteijn, the studio’s CEO and Strategy Director since 2005, has overseen Studio Dumbar’s expansion to Shanghai (2005) and Seoul (2012).[4] In 2016 the studio became part of Dept, an international group of digital agencies.

Philosophy and influence[edit]

Studio Dumbar describes its work as ‘visual branding, online branding’, meaning that it creates every visible expression of a brand or organisation — offline and online. Its international scope is reflected in its teams, with an average of seven nationalities in Rotterdam.[5]

Fragmented, sometimes complex to the edge of chaos, and layered with complex typography, many Dumbar projects caused consternation among advocates of a more ordered aesthetic. But by the late 1980s many European designers were mimicking Studio Dumbar’s approach, causing Gert Dumbar to place a moratorium on these techniques within his firm.[6]

Projects and clientele[edit]

The studio has a comprehensive range of clients, designing everything from experimental graphics for cultural clients to corporate identity programs and literature. Its portfolio is diverse, encompassing work for a variety of clients both large and small — from business and government to cultural and non–profit.

Among the client list one can spot Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Dutch Police, TNT, Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, Dutch Railways, a.s.r., Transavia and the Dutch Government.


The company has won an astounding number of awards. On D&AD’s all-time list, Studio Dumbar is the third most awarded design outfit, beaten only by Apple and Pentagram.[7]

Some of its most important accolades include:


  1. ^ Influence
  2. ^ Studio Dumbar (Designer & Design 049),éditions Pyramyd, ISBN 978-2350170398, p. 9
  3. ^ The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design
  4. ^ History of Graphic Design
  5. ^ Creative Bloq
  6. ^ Philip B. Meggs/Alston W. Purvis, Meggs' History of Graphic Design, ISBN 978-0470168738, p. 16
  7. ^ DA&D record
  8. ^ ED-Awards
  9. ^ best of the Best
  10. ^ Grand Prix
  11. ^ Marketing Week (dutch)

External links[edit]