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Preview: ED-Festival 2010

A major celebration of communication design comes to Rotterdam in May this year with the European Design Festival culminating in the European Design Awards.

By Katie Dominy /asdf 13-05-2010

The ED-Festival involves exhibitions, a three-day design conference and a series of awards, each year located in a different European city. 2010 sees the festival in Rotterdam at the end of May. 

The festival is organised by European Design, an industry-funded body, working with fourteen directional European communication design magazines, such as the Dutch Vormberichten and Elephant, Design Week from the UK and Progetto Grafico from Italy.

Representatives from these fourteen titles compose the jury for the European Design Awards, that decides on the winners of the best graphic design, illustration and multimedia design in Europe. The Awards ceremony to be held on 30 May in the Rotterdam City Hall, is the culmination of the ED-Festival; events organised by both European Design and Rotterdam partners aimed at giving visitors an overview of the city's design culture, with workshops, design walks, exhibitions and lectures.

The European Design Conference, held 28-30 May 2010 at Rotterdam's De Doelen, has an international following, with speakers from fifteen different countries in Europe. The focus is on speakers explaining case studies and both the problems and solutions encountered. Gert Dumbar is one of the Dutch representatives and his studio, Studio Dumbar, has developed the design for the festival, from posters, banners and programme catalogue to advertising. Dumbar established his studio in 1977 and has been responsible for many reworkings of corporate identity such as the Dutch Postal and Telecom Services (PTT), the ANWB (Dutch Automobile Association), the Dutch Railways and the Dutch Police.

In its designs for this year's festival, the studio focused on questioning the role of design, asking: ‘Design has become increasingly important in our current society, for business, government, and cultural life. It is not only about aesthetics, for the nice experience of beauty. It has a vital role, simply for society to communicate and function better. If that is the case: do we, in the current, global economic crisis, raise the right questions and address the current issues?' This led the studio to incorporate the visual language of protection movements and counter-cultures into abstract versions of the European flags.

Also speaking at the conference is Tirso Francés, co-founder and co-creative director of Utrecht-based studio Dietwee. Dietwee is Dutch for Thosetwo and was founded by Tirso Francés and Ron Faas in 1988 while they were in their second year of art college in Utrecht. At the conference, Francés will present the series of nine annual reports produced for private bank Insinger de Beaufort. Each of these reports have already won national and/or international awards and the latest two have each won the European Design Awards in the last two years. Other speakers include Philippe Apeloig (FR), 4 für Texas (GER), Kustaa Saksi (FI), Yurko Gutsulyak (UKR), Astrid Stavro (ES), Moving Brands (UK), Bleed (NOR), Raffinerie (CH), Zup Associati (IT), Fantasy Interactive (SWE), MnP (GR), Jacek Utko (POL) and Bauer concept and design (AT).

Several Design Walks are planned: Design Walk WdKA is a two-three hour guided tour to local design agencies led by the Willem de Kooning Academie. Agencies are primed to welcome guests into their office for around twenty-five minutes, answer questions about their work and exhibit key projects. In addition, the tour involves a visit to the academy's Master of Media Design and Communication department to meet tutors and students, as well as an exhibition of work from WdKA Graphic Design students at BLAAK10 and 2009 star graduates OONA - Sander van Loon and Merijn van Essen at Stadhuisplein 11. There are also Design Walks around the RDM Campus, located at the former shipyards of the Rotterdamche, Design Walk Rotterdam South which takes visitors to Studio Dumbar, Strange Attractors Design and architecture practice MVRDV and Design Walk Rotterdam West which will visit design studios 75B, Koehorst in ‘t Veld and ping-pong design.

Exhibitions in the city include Ideas from Rotterdam organised by Designplatform Rotterdam at the City Hall, displaying products designed by Rotterdam studios. VIVID Gallery presents the work of iconic communications agency KesselsKramer.

Main image: conference speakers
Images 1&2: event posters designed by Studio Dumbar
Image 3: De Doelen
Image 4: City Walk visiting MVRDV
Image 5: KesselsKramer

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