Daniel Sytsma on why Digital Design matters

Amsterdam, 26 February 2018

Daniel Sytsma is founder/creative director of Studio Kraftwerk. He will be Jury President of the category Digital Design & Digital Craft for the ADCN Awards 2018.

What makes Digital Design special and important according to you?

The role of digital designers has become increasingly important over the last years. The impact has transcended marketing and branding and design has become essential for brands to become successful. Consultancies have noticed the business value of design and they are buying up agencies. While many people see that as a threat, I think there is something good hidden in this development as well. Those consultancies are very good at making a case for the value of design and that brings the industry forward as a whole.

Last year we’ve also noticed that design can be a powerful force for both good and evil. Facebook is now admitting that the product they designed is so effective but also addictive that it has negative effects on happiness. At the same time we see how designers constantly look for ways to solve the world’s biggest problems. For example, Mirjam de Bruijn who graduated from the Design Academy with the project Twenty, which aims to reduce transport, CO2 emissions and packaging by condensing products like cleaning detergent, dish soap and shampoo into concentrated powder.

Which cases from last year have inspired you?

I was really impressed when I came across Quick Draw. It’s really inspiring to see how smart machine learning can become and how it can be used to create something fun and playful.

Next, 2017 was the year in which Boyan Slat raised 21.7 million dollars in funding for his Ocean Cleanup project. That’s some proper design thinking right there. I think we can be proud as a country that something so pragmatic and radical comes from a 23-year-old Dutchy.

This year the theme of the ADCN Awards is ‘the Magic of Creativity’. What do you think, is creativity magic?

Magic is what makes the difference between a computer and the brain of a good creative. Creativity is a superpower that we still don’t fully understand because it’s the one thing that computers can’t reproduce through systematic processes. It’s what sets great work apart from work that just does its job.

It’s also something we have to fight for. Magic only happens when an idea is executed to perfection. If one element is off, the magic spell is broken. I’m hoping for some magic in the work we judge this year.

According to you, what’s the importance of a Lamp for creatives, agencies and the industry as a whole?

The lamp is a true celebration of creativity. It showcases the value of radical ideas and relentless craft. The lamp gives those ideas a platform that inspires the industry to do better work.