Volkskrant Magazine's Creativity Issue with Art Director, Jaap Biemans

Volkskrant Magazine's April 14, 2018 issue featured 10 split-run covers designed by "legends and aces from the editorial world." The theme of the issue was "creativity" and Mirko Borsche, Anthony Burrill/Ewoudt Boonstra, David Carson, Wim Crouwel, Paul Faassen, Erik Kessels, George Lois, Rodrigo Sanchez, Richard Turley, and Volkskrant Art Director, Jaap Biemans in collaboration with Anna Kiosse were tasked with tackling the subject. Below, Jaap tells us a little bit about the concept and the designers share more about each cover and their views on creativity.

Jaap Biemans, Art Director at Volkskrant Magazine: We at Volkskrant wanted to make something special and teamed up with ADCN, the organisation that emphasizes on creativity in the Netherlands. I asked 10 designers that I love and admire to create a cover about "creativity." On the run I decided to run a 10 piece split-run cover series. This all started with four covers but everybody was so enthusiastic about it, so I kept asking other designers. In the end I thought why not ask Wim Crouwel? He is 89 years old and king designer of the Netherlands if you ask me...and he said yes! Excitement here (understatement) and that was the 10th cover of Volkskrant Magazine.

It makes me blush having all that talent working on one issue; legends combined with young guns, this is what creativity is all about!

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Mirko Borsche
German designer of, among others, ZEITMagazin, Nike and Bavarian State Opera

"Being creative must be something causing happiness. What I want in particular is to entertain people. Magazines are about entertaining: graphic design is not a serious art form, but most of all it's something playful and fun."

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Wim Crouwel
Master of the Dutch graphic designers.
Famous for his graphic stamps, fonts, posters and the telephone directory.

"These are seven fonts I designed, they're yours, have fun with them!"
1. Foundry Factory Bold / 2. Fodor Regular / 3. New Alphabet / 4. Foundry Gridnik Bold / 5. Urban Regular / 6. Catalogue Soft Solid / 7. Architype Square

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David Carson
American graphic designer of the legendary magazine Ray Gun

"Creativity is hard to explain. It comes from a unique place that is somewhere deep inside all of us. For this cover I made many versions. I felt the best about this one. Surfing is an important part of my life. The image on the background is me: surfing near my house in the Caribbean. I paint with letters and images. Creativity comes when we allow ourselves to use our life history. I have never made such a cover before. It reflects the past, but also the future that is unknown to us."

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Jaap Biemans & Anna Kiosse
Jaap is the Art Director at Volkskrant Magazine 
& Anna is an up-and-coming multi-talent from Germany

Biemans: "Stop babbling about getting inspiration from slouching. The best designs are created by simply starting at 9 am with a strong cup of coffee in your hand. Then forget about the prevailing mores and go as far as possible to find the edges. There’s already enough flaccid design. ‘Good design is about kicking ass, not kissing ass.'"

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Paul Faassen
Dutch illustrator, known for his image column and
many award-winning covers for Volkskrant Magazine.

"I start every commission with a blank sheet and simple thoughts about the subject. In this case, for example: Creation is making ‘something' out of ‘nothing’. Ideas that then emerge are discarded again. So it didn’t take long before there was a rejected sketch as a wad of paper under my nose. But when is something a failure or a success? I wanted to turn the failure into a successful design."

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Anthony Burrill & Ewoudt Boonstra
Anthony is an English designer, well-known for the Work Hard and be Nice to People posters. Ewoudt is a Dutch art director and director.

"There is an expression in the creative world saying that ‘you are as good as your latest work’. That may explain the constant visual deluge that overwhelms us. After all, you never know whether your new work is ‘good enough’ for your self-imposed standard. This vulnerable position leaves us no option but to sharpen our pencils and plough on under the adage: Make New Work."

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George Lois
American art director, known for his characteristic covers of Esquire from the 1960s. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has included them in its collection.

"Use your creativity as a weapon. That’s a militant challenge to creatives all over the world to fight together and defend our democracy. On this cover, the photographer Platon portrayed me as a Greek hero and provocateur. Someone who believes that truth is more important than power. This image requires a courageous creativity. We have to prevent the growth of an irrational, anxious, demagogic and racist hate that is spreading like a wildfire across America and the rest of the free world."

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Richard Turley
The always critical art director of Bloomberg Businessweek, MTV and now design agency Wieden Kennedy in New York.

"The only way for me to do justice to the theme was an attempt to put myself in the mind and body of a well-known designer. I chose the designer Jonathan Ives. I imagined the moment before he picks up his ‘revolutionary’ Apple Pencil to show us the unrestricted limitations of his inner landscape."

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Erik Kessels
From the high-profile advertising agency KesselsKramer.

"Creativity knows no logic. It is a random process moving in all directions. Playing, laughing, confusing, failing and getting up again . Constantly thinking that you are not up to the job, summoning up the courage again and again and telling yourself as often as possible that your intuition is right. It is delightful and terrible at the same time."

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Rodrigo Sanchez
Renowned art director of the Spanish magazine Metropoli

"Creativity is working hard, sweating, suffering, and making mistakes. Especially many mistakes. Hence the wads of paper. These are all failed ideas. But creativity is fed by failures."


Art Director: Jaap Biemans in cooperation with ADCN Amsterdam