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Interview: Barbara Jonkers and Dennis de Vries

Thirty-two churches, thirty-two unique images made in lino. For the visual identity of Under the Tour, Barbara Jonkers, self-employed designer, and Dennis de Vries of BW H Designers designed an image for each event. The style itself, the colors, according to the two, connects to what a church radiates. “The yellow is inspired by the color of stones of a church, but it also feels warm and rich.”

What was your role in this project?
Barbara: In 2016, I was asked to develop a visual identity for Under the Tour. That’s where it all started. A website, a logo and a typography. I asked Dennis to join and help me with this. In the beginning of October of that year we presented the designs.
Dennis: Initially, in order to make the entries for potential projects, everything should be digital too. We wanted to present a strong concept right away. Barbara and I are different, but in a good way: she is more focused on the creative process, I immediately put the focus on the final product. Barbara has a lot of experience with the cultural sector in Friesland, which I’m less familiar with. In addition, my focus is not only on design, but also on web, which is almost indispensable to the new generation.
Barbara: You also have a dynamic skill – you work timewise, which is sometimes difficult for me. I am more of the flat surface, beautiful typography, the hierarchical setting. Dennis thinks fast, notices things quickly and is not afraid to make choices. It is also great to have a good relationship with the organization of Under de Toer.
Dennis: Indeed, we both think it’s about creating a feeling. It is not just about what we’ve made, but it’s the dialogue between us and the client. Working together towards the final product.

What eventually became the visual identity?
Barbara: We asked ourselves how we wanted to portrait the project. A church tower is a benchmark in the Frisian landscape. What could we do with that shape, what does the tower of a church actually look like? There are of course many different towers. You have the the ‘onion’ at the tip of the tower, or just a tower with a medieval block shape. The church tower oversees everything during the day and during the night and always reflects the time, that’s why we chose the color palette of dawn. The yellow is the color of the brick, it gives a rich and warm feeling.
Dennis: From the first moment I started working on this project, I thought of the logo as a church bell. To increase interactivity, this bell was chiming when you visited the website. “Hear, hear!” was added. It was a call-to-action for churches to sign up for the project. With success: Under the Tour received eighty entries.

When those eighty were finally brought back to thirty two projects, there was another challenge: There had to be an visual design of all these manifestations, which was also a characteristic of Under de Toer. How did you do this?
Dennis: Every church has something special, every church has its own relics, with its own stories. These stories are leading in Under de Toer and eventually it was the subjects of the manifestations that were the inspiration of the design. It was a technical challenge. We wanted to show the stories of these churches, visually. Like a book: Under the Tour is the publisher, the church is the author and the projects are the subject of the book.
Barbara: We first made a sketch on the computer, and a composition. We printed that in black and white. You draw over this on a piece of linoleum and then you cut it and ink it. I made a picture of this print with my phone and sent this to the computer to edit and color. It is a combination of the old craft and the new, graphic design. Working with such an old craft makes the design really suitable for Under de Toer. There is a story in those ancient stones. We told those stories.

For more information about Barbara and Dennis, visit http://www.barbarajonkers.nl/ or/and http://www.bwhontwerpers.nl/

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