Making different work
I design creative ways for brands and people to communicate.
Described as a playful, hybrid creative director, strategist, and designer, I am experienced in multiple creative disciplines as well as in managing and facilitating processes and teams.
Below are a few of my personal favorite projects. More on request. Cases will be added through time.
- Jurjen Semeijn
Clients: Nike, adidas, Vans, ASICS, O'Neill, Red Bull, Giant, Sony Music, Pyer Moss, Vice, Centraal Museum, Land Art Contemporary, Port of Rotterdam, T-Mobile, Havana Club, a lot of BMX and Skateboard brands, a few magazines, two car brands back in the day and an insurance company.
Creating: An impossible identity
When you think about it, this makes no sense; creating a graphic identity system for an artwork. The idea with art is that it's open to multiple interpretations. The experience is deeply personal. However, an identity is usually meant to communicate a single, shared message.
In line with the ideas of the artist, I used technology to generate unique logos based on his handwriting that could be used in different circumstances. Along with other simple rules this created singular pieces within a recognizable style.
Client: 50 years Broken Circle/Spiral Hill by Robert Smithson
Output: A simple but effective generative graphic identity for events celebrating the 50th anniversary of Robert Smithson's earthwork Broken Circle/ Spiral Hill along with the design of all marketing and advertising pieces.
Outcome: The events were quickly sold out, which probably had more to do with the status of the artist, but atleast the advertising did not get in the way.
Deconstructing: The creative process for Nike Sportswear.
In order to create change or something truly new, you first have to destroy the old. We used this philosophy by Nietzsche to create a project for Nike sportswear that focused on showing that particular attitude and the resulting creative process. We took the product apart and stripped it of all its value and meaning, rebuilding it through several stages of destruction and creating all the way up until the launch event in London.
Client: Nike Sportswear
Output: A perfect one-to-one scale burnt and charred replica of a Nike jacket for their launch event in London and their sportswear flagship store in New York City.
Outcome: The documentation of the process was the source for a Nike brand movie along with an interview about the philosophy behind the concept.
Insight: Often the emphasis of a project is on the final product or delivery. This project showed that by focusing on the process the actions and attitude become a much more interesting and inspiring story.
Exploring: The future of a decentralized museum.
When German artist Joseph Beuys proclaimed that "Everyone's an Artist" he probably did not envision social media publishing platforms. To show how that could possibly influence the traditional role of a museum - in which it carefully considers which artists to collect and display, we created a project in which everyone would be able to contribute and influence an alternate graphic identity of the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Client: Centraal Museum Utrecht
Output: A site that everyone can upload an image to, which gets converted to a new image with colored dots depending on the colors and placement of the original image. The combined images generate the final image and identity.
Insight: Even in its most abstract form, visualizing (the future role of a museum) in a fun and different way makes understanding the process easier.
Transforming: And Action.
Astora was launched as a new brand of quality LED video and film lighting a year earlier, but to little or no effect. We repositioned the brand and developed a different introduction campaign centered around creativity under pressure. We designed a challenge that gave young filmmakers the creative freedom to make a short movie, but with a few restrictions in time, budget and an impossible creative obstruction to overcome.
Client: Astora Film & Photo Lighting
Outcome: A successful relaunch, five really good short movies and a lot of positive feedback and press. Astora is off to a good start.
Insight: Believing in young people and empowering them really pays off.
Changing: The rules of the game.
As in life, all games have written and unwritten rules. Whenever the game of football is played outside of the official context the rules shift towards the unwritten. On each field players improvise and change the rules according to the situation, sparking creativity. For Nike we created a concrete street football inspired foosball game that challenges players to follow many of the unwritten rules and to be creative.
Output: A concrete street football foosball game, initially for the Nike AirMax 90 anniversary exhibition, but also displayed in other locations.
Exploring: The process of decline
Everything has the potential to be good and bad, depending on the time, place, situation and the context. During the first 100 days of the presidency of the USA I documented the rotting process of an otherwise very nutricious orange shaped to look like Donald Trump. While becoming strangely beautiful, with each passing day it also became more and more unhealthy and disgusting.
Output: Daily photos of the process, all gathered through an Instagram account which gathered 1000+ followers over the course of the project.
Fun fact: All those people followed the rotting of an orange.
Identifying: The spreading of a commercial virus.
To understand the complex dynamics of value creation by large fashion firms, we created a research project in which we mimicked the way Nike uses subcultures to spread hype by word-of-mouth. We secretly placed 10 pairs of concrete Nike replica sneakers in front of the world's most prolific sneaker shops and documented the following spread for a year, all the way up to the project publication and following boom.
Output: A research website containing the entire process from the creation and placement of the replica sneakers as well as the documentation from the following year.
Outcome: We gained a lot of knowledge about how a hype virus spreads and used this in subsequent projects.
Side-effect: Upon publishing the project the site received over half a million visitors within the course of the first month. The project itself was also published on countless websites and in multiple magazines.
Changing: The perspective of value in design.
The role of designer has expanded from problem solver towards the realm of the arts, asking questions rather than offering solutions. Designers have also adopted the business model of artists in which they produce design as art. This changes the context and perception as well as the valuation of the work. To understand this mechanism we amplified the idea of limited edition design as art through a series of ten chairs illegally made in public space.
Output: Guerilla Upcycling: A series of ten chairs made on the spot with found materials as an extreme example of design as art.
Outcome: The research story was published in several digital and printed magazines as well as featured across two pages in a Dutch national newspaper, sparking an interesting discussion with different takes on the subject.
Re-Framing: The purpose of designer furniture.
Every year in October the city of Eindhoven hosts the Dutch Design Week. It is a place where many designers of all types gather to show their work. And while it's not the furniture Salone in Milan it's easy to question the need for some of the design that is presented. To show an alternative to the traditional function of furniture we created a skateable living room. Because skateboarders are used to interpreting obstacles for potential useability it made perfect sense.
Output: Several pieces of furniture with different potential presented at the Area51 Skatepark in Eindhoven during and after Dutch Design Week.
Outcome: Many skateboarders reinterpreted the obstacles and used them for new tricks. The project was viewed by a lot of visitors and was picked up across the internet and printed magazines as well.
Exploring: A Red Bull museum exhibition?
As a company and brand Red Bull has had quite an influence in music and sports culture. From developing new sporting disciplines to sponsoring and facilitating extreme endeavors, there has hardly been anything imaginable that couldn't be done. For the kickoff of the Red Bull Creative Studio we wanted to push the limits of creative autonomy and commercial intervention within a museum context.
Client: Red Bull
Output: An art project commissioned by Red Bull called "Who's afraid of Red Bull, Yellow and Blue?" wich consisted of four replicas of famous art pieces in exact Red Bull brand colors and a short documentary of the creation process.
Outcome: The pieces were displayed and the documentary was shown at Centraal Museum in Utrecht.
Creating: The Lavar brand.
Lavar was a BMX inspired California streetwear label that I launched with Michael Ardelean in 2004. Over the course of five years we developed Lavar into a brand with distribution across the globe and products in some of the coolest boutique shops from Korea and Japan to Paris and New York.
Output: Multiple years of brand development and product design for the BMX lifestyle brand Lavar from Los Angeles, CA.
Outcome: Through pursuing different strategies and alternative designs Lavar quickly gained popularity within the community and grew their business exponentially across the globe.
Creating: A platform for art in public space.
After the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent cuts in Dutch government spending on art subsidies, the art world was forced to reinvent their sources of revenue in an increasingly hostile climate towards the arts. Together with three professionals for art in the public domain we developed a new platform that promotes the sector in general and highlights alternative options for art projects in order to address potential new business.
Client: Publiek Gemaakt
Output: An independent platform with articles, dossiers, an agenda and sponsors.
Outcome: Publiek Gemaakt is an ambassador for the field of art in public space and is seen as such by artists, advisers and potential clients.
Creating: O'Neil Billboarder
O'Neill is universally known for its involvement in surf culture. Its founder invented the wetsuit. Less known are their activities in snowboarding. To signal this in The Netherlands we made a special billboard in front of one of the most visited artificial indoor snow slopes in The Netherlands. It's simple, in your face and effective.
Output: A billboard spectacular to greet visitors to SnowWorld Zoetermeer.