Tearing down boundaries with Bram Fritz

You study graphic design at the Willem de Kooning Academy. What made you apply for a position at Reframing Studio?

I don’t really think in terms of boundaries between design professions. I try to focus on the more innovative frontiers of the profession, I see myself more and more as a social designer that uses graphic design, I try to look for the essence of problems and search for a digital solution that fits. I believe the golden days of traditional graphic design are over. These were directed towards print based, analogue media. I want to be part of a new cycle, using the Internet as a platform.

What happened to those golden days?

The Internet enabled people to communicate in a way that is so much richer. In the case of non-digital media, a receiver will not be able to interact in a simple way with the sender. You can’t talk back to a book... I mean, you could but probably nothing interesting would happen. This changes the entire context.

Is making books an obsolete act, or is there a residual need?

Paper books and other printed media will remain, but in a niche market.

There are a limited number of cases where print is better. It has a cosy individual experience to it for instance, and you don’t need GPS and power to consult a map but I will not design them for I want to be engaged with the experimental, exploring the digital…

How did you find Reframing Studio?

I designed the identity for Crosslab Events, a Willem de Kooning event. I attended a presentation by Reframing Studio’s Beatrijs Voorneman.

What attracted me most was the innovative mentality as apparent in your research-based approach in which insights are translated into clear design proposals.

Does your academy, WdKA support your ambitions?

Absolutely, the academy has renewed its educational approach and focuses on multi disciplinary education. The traditional professional domains are more and more left behind.

Finding yourself at the professional frontier, it must be hard to come up with examples of inspiring work?

From the golden period: definitely Anton Beeke, an expressive and explosive graphic designer…lately I am into Rafaël Rozendaal. He explores the ‘Art in the Browser’ concept. I also like his way of living: he tries to live the same way his artworks live.

Do you find yourself lucky to live at exactly this moment in time and space? Would you have preferred the future?

This is my era. Internet has existed let’s say for a decade or two, maybe three. I believe it is still shaping itself as a medium and I am lucky to make stuff for a system that is still in full development.

Are there also losers, unlucky ones to be alive now?

At the moment privacy is a loser. Developing Internet is going so fast that laws and ethics are not matured and organized. Eventually that will be sorted out but by that time it will have damaged certain people.

Do you see the web as something that was bound to happened or are we lucky that innovation took this path?

The urge to communicate better will always be there. The Internet maybe a normal response to that need. Recently I saw one of the first approaches to a ‘proto’-internet as an analog version with pipes and mirrors. Created somewhere in the 19th century I think. Brilliant.

But is that really a proto Internet? It lacks essential aspects as instantaneousness, reliability, feed back…

That is true. An analog version might have been a relatively ‘innocent’ innovation, now we are stuck with a disrupting digital one.

How does it feel being the only digital native in this studio?

I am not sure I am the only one but its true that I can’t remember a analogue long distance phone call.

What is your big contribution towards mankind going to be?

On an abstract level, I will come up with a simple solution for a complex problem, I will look for essences. Some small invention that internet has brought along. About five years ago I found The Idea Swap…a page online where you can exchange ideas. You first have to add in order to receive a random idea from someone else. That is the stuff I like!


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