Studio Dunbar

The work of Studio Dunbar is one of the first examples of corporate branding for the public sector. Founded by Gert Dunbar in the Netherlands in 1977 Studio Dumbar’s work is widely acclaimed, earning two golden pencils at prestigious D&AD, the first studio ever to do so. These awards rate Studio Dunbar as the third most awarded designers, beaten only by Apple and Pentagram.

An early Government commission for Studio Dunbar was Dutch rail.The work was to modernise Dutch rails image. At the time branding in the public sector was new. The brief was to also make a system of information more clear. Thirty years on elements of these designs, such as the graphics used in some of the pictograms are still in use today. Similarities can be seen in some of Studio Dunbars more recent designs such as pictograms for the low budget airline Transavia.

Uniformity in public design can be seen in the branding of institutions such as Dutch police, postal and telecommunication services linking the design work to their single creator.A good example of how they did this is Studio Dunbars more recent work  for the Dutch education sector.The task was to combine 175 separate identities so they were blended into on clear coherent identity. Each institution were given the freedom to create their own design as long as they kept the same topography and used colours from a limited selection.

Gert Dumbar was born in Indonesia on May 16, 1940.Gert studied painting and graphic design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the Hague. He earned his postgraduate degree in graphic design at the Royal College of Art in London.

Today Studio Dunbar is run by creative director Liza Enebeis.“Studio Dumbar was one of the first that went across borders, outside of the Netherlands,” says Enebeis, whose history with the company goes all the way back to an internship in 1994. “In the 90s a lot of the work became known, not because of the D&AD awards it won, but because at the time it was groundbreaking, looking at identity and branding – or what we call branding now – and how it was approached. It wasn’t just a logo.”

What is Design? An interview with Get Dunbar


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