After her BA in Graphic Design in Rio de Janeiro, Rejane went on to study under Milton Glaser at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She completed a MA at Post St Joost Academy in The Netherlands in 2006. During her MA, Rejane joined Studio Dumbar, a graphic design studio that has established a unique position in the Dutch Design scene.
Rejane is currently a Senior Designer at Studio Dumbar, as well as a member of the faculty of St Joost Academy, where she teaches Graphic Design (BA & MA) and Creative Process.
_ Hi Rejane, how are you today?
Fine thank you.
_What are you working on right now?
I am working for the Alzheimer Nederland Foundation at Studio Dumbar, where they asked us to redesign the whole identity. It is a huge foundation and the challenge of this project was super interesting and hard. At one hand you have to translate the identity within the perspective of the organization and also help the patients and their families; at the same time raising funds, awareness for the disease and looking for supporters. There we went into a in deep process to find the right balance of it all, with respect for those who have the disease first and foremost.
_ Would you mind sharing a picture of your work area with us?
It is scary, but this is most true!
_ You are from Rio de Janeiro. In which way does that influence your approach on design?
If i got influenced, i don't know precisely how, since i have lived in other countries also and I think the influences get mixed up and it becomes hard to define where it comes from.
_ Why did you decide to come (and stay) in the Netherlands?
I came to Holland to take my master degree. I looked for a master which I could actually engage into social problems and see if graphic design could have a role on it. I worked, parallel with graphic design in Rio de Janeiro, for an organization that helps kids from slums – poor communities – and I always wondered what design could actually do for unprivileged situations. I did a project about how to prevent long term homelessness. I absolutely learned a lot and and placed the role as a graphic designer in a new perspective.
_ How do the graphic design scenes in southern America and Central Europe compare to each other?
It is hard to compare because design history in South America is super recent. We are so young countries that we are still young teenagers, and trying to define our own personality. In contrast, Europe has been in the center of the world at least for the last 500 years. Due to the fertile lands of South America, in case of Brazil, Portugal and Spain and at the "internet of our time", the printing press was really controlled by the colonial powers and this control was deliberately to control the country. If you have information you have power. Graphic design realm, our printing history is super recent.
In a positive point of view, we don't have any roots to respect as the Germans do, for example. We have a huge improvisation all the time, trying to understand what we are doing. We do chaotic design due to this improvisation, but at the same time the chaos brings new unexpected things, beautiful designs and new forms of expressions. This excites me. Our first design school (ESDI) in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro started at 1962 and it is based on the curriculum from a Ulm, German school directly linked with the Bauhaus influence.
_ Your work is often very colorful, big and bold, I would sometimes even call it a bit anarchic. What is your opinion about “classic design rules” like readability and simplicity?
I have a strong personality and the colors and boldness reflects where I am and what I have been experiencing. But I don't see myself as anarchic. Especially to build an identity, you have to have a clear system and follow it. Otherwise it does not work. What I am interested in is: what is the question from the client, and what would be the best way to translate their solution visually? If "anarchic" is the best way to express it, i go for it, if not, not. That is what interests me. The content leads to what should be visualized. Having one way to translate every client – having one style – is not what interests me in design. But there are some DNA from my personality which binds the work I do through color and boldness. Design rules and readability, of course, is in the base of my work and breaking it and experimenting with it is also part of it.
_ You work a lot with identity. What do you think makes an identity work?
When the WHOLE is strong. The whole system works as coming from the same core, but not manifesting itself with sameness. Identifying what needs to be identified. Distinguishing it from others.
_ When does a project get interesting for you?
When the client is open to expand the boundaries of his business. Not to follow the stream and really try to IDENTIFY the project differently and unexpectedly.
_ Is there a project that you will never forget?
Paz Holandesa. I met an amazing Dutch woman, Marjan van Mourik, who moved to Peru and started building a hospital for kids for free. I joined her to help as a graphic designer, as a pro-bono work, and developed the hospital identity. The focus here was the kids and not an important hospital corporation. That means we created a world for the kids, characters that represent the staff of the hospital. So instead of the doctor wearing a traditional doctor outfit, we made the doctor wear a t-shirt with his icon printed on it – same goes for the nurse, the cleaner of the hospital and the administrator of the hospital. Everybody becomes one group and less look-alikes like in traditional hospitals, in this way exploring the emotional connection of the doctor-patient relationship. I do hope the design makes the kids less scared and makes them at ease in a hospital environment.
_ You are teaching “creative process” at the faculty of Post St Joost Academy. How do you define creative process? What is important for successfull creative thinking?
I am trying to understand and learn that failing is part of the process – doing it over and over again, rethinking and strengthening the core of what needs to be translated.
_ What inspires you?
I think what inspires me the most is to do something that can matter to someone. Do something that has more than money value. Paz Holandesa is an example of it, as well the new identity project for the Alzheimer Nederland foundation.
_ What are your plans for the future?
I will not work for Studio Dumbar, from July on. The rest is still to be decided. Exciting...