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Studio Dumbar for Alzheimer Netherlands

Raising awareness for the illness that is Alzheimer’s, Studio Dumbar approached its latest project with the greatest sensitivity. A moving yet precise campaign is the result.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 11-10-2012

Designing a new visual identity and communication for any charity can be a real challenge, but when the charity involves a serious illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, extra care is taken to make it work. spoke to creative director of Studio Dumbar Liza Enebeis about the commission.

You where commissioned by Alzheimer Netherlands to completely redesign its visual identity and communication. What did the commission entail?

“The idea is to enable a more effective and emotional communication for the Alzheimer foundation. Alzheimer is an debilitating disease; in an average of just seven years, people loose touch completely and eventually pass. The only potential solution is scientific research for which more funds are needed. To raise them, Alzheimer Netherlands needs to make a much greater impact.”

A very sensitive subject. As a design agency, how do you approach such a project?

“It was an intriguing yet difficult journey. We felt a large responsibility resting on our shoulders to create a extraordinary concept, something that would feel right to all people involved such as patients, relatives and volunteers, but also something that creates impact – gets the message across and raises more funds. We were very happy to see that the final result was welcomed with such great enthusiasm.”

The visual identity of Alzheimer Netherlands includes everything from a new logo and typeface to information booklets and stationary. The logo itself seems to capture the feeling of the illness perfectly, in a short film (shown below) we see how the word ‘alzheimer’ slowly starts to show holes, becoming ever more fleeting until it finally is dissolved into light.

The logo and specially-designed type seem like a message in themselves, what is it you want to bring across with this type?

“The design concept is based on a vanishing point in the typography. These letters are used on all communication media. The words and phrases are legible, but not at first glance. Somehow people immediately feel the reference to Alzheimer as the process in which you loose grip of the reality around you. The wonderful thing is that some people do not see a vanishing point but rather a source of light. You could say that the vanishing point refers to the Alzheimer disease and the light to the Alzheimer foundation.”

A beautiful message in itself. Did you try out other kinds of imagery before you came to this final design?

“ Yes, during the first few reviews, we had tables and walls covered with the most stunning creative work which reflected the Alzheimer disease. Unfortunately we had to conclude it missed a sense of optimism and did not match the objective of Alzheimer Nederland –stronger communication and more fundraising. It was a real challenge to get to the right answer and balance.”

Where will we be seeing this campaign around the Netherlands?

“It will be used in all visual expressions of Alzheimer Nederland. The great thing is that after seeing just one part of the identity, people immediately recognize it, even if you were to cover the name and logo. We were delighted and relieved when the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and people continue to comment on how they feel an immediate emotional connection with the identity.”

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