In the beginning of summer 2005 Marnix de Klerk (1982) and Nina Mathijsen (1983) graduated respectively as graphic and illustrative designers at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU). Directly after their graduation they started Studio Braam, but at the next spring break despite (or thanks to) the succes of Studio Braam the studio became a travelling project by the name of Detour. Their Odyssey lasted for more than ten seasons before they returned to Ithaca, loaded with dreams and ready for battle. This all happened autumn 2008, and they are here to stay in Utrecht’s design scene.

It would not surprise you when you were told that a big chunk of their inspiration comes from that which they find in the dust along the road. Urban multi-culturality and native art is a fascination of theirs, but the detail of that which happens in the here and now, right under their feet is just as interesting to them.

It’s not strange they love Pakistan as much as they love India. That they feel love for the exquisite mosaiques of the Imam mosque of Esfahan as they enjoy graffiti found in the suburbs of Tel Aviv. Cycling in the Dutch meadows is the same to them as hitch-hiking through the Sudan. On the prowl for the threshold of legibility, navigating between autonomous images and applied design, they are there only to leave their newfound borders behind again. Contrast is what makes for the tension in an image. They love both Martin Majoor as a classical typedesigner as well as hand made type. Concept versus experiment. They would conclude: contrast is what makes for the tension in an image.

And that is the same paradox which is their fual and motivation: with Japanese focus and militaire precision it’s the head of the graphic designer versus the artesenal skill and the heart of the illustrator. Together this is blended into an explosion that is applied time and time again in soulful, conceptual contexts. According to this formula they work among other things on books, annuals, brochures, identities, invitations and posters. They make often use of their extended network of other creatives of different disciplines and neither they are afraid of collaborations.

(Typo)graphic design, illustration and art direction with a strong emphasis on artisanal crafts is what they stand for. They believe in a collaborative relationship with their clients based on mutual respect.


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