Antwerp-based design studio Vrints-Kolsteren was founded three years ago by Naomi Kolsteren and Vincent Vrints, collaborators since university. During their studies, the designers work “was very experimental and a bit crazy”, delving into the worlds of zine publication, curating exhibitions and illustration. However, since graduating, Naomi and Vincent have gained vital industry experience. Vincent working at Studio Dumbar, where he became familiar with the legacy of Dutch designers like Wim Crouwel and Karel Martens; and Naomi gaining experience in magazines and photography, which continues to be “a significant asset to our work today”, she tells It’s Nice That.
“We have a specific aesthetic that we stand for and it’s important for us to be able to apply this to our own work. For instance, we both love Modernist design and now that we have our own studio, we can completely go our own way”, Naomi and Vincent explain. The studio prides itself on a good working relationship with clients, working collaboratively to produce the best possible outcomes as seen in the projects below.
Vrints-Kolsteren redesigned the logo and visual identity for the Academy of Mol, “the school already had a logo, but it referred to the old name of the school and wasn’t appropriately expressing all the disciplines of the school”, says Naomi and Vincent. The design duo “found some nice letters designed by Edward Wright, which reminded us of the old logo, and these elements form the basis of the bespoke typeface we created to be used in the visual identity”. The custom typeface feels anthropomorphic, reflecting the student-centric institution with its limb-like letterforms. On the subject of type design, the designers retell how “the letters of the logo are drawn on a square grid, which inform the construction of the type. Now it’s used throughout all visual communication as a recognisable element within the institute”, evoking the experimental and playful nature of the art school.
The pair have designed the visual identity and exhibition guides for Antwerp Art for the past three years. This year’s identity is based on a map of Antwerp, the exhibiting members of Antwerp Art, being collected on a map detailing the highlights of the city each year. “The identity is based on the dynamic lines that make up the words “AA” for “Antwerp Art” and “AAW” for “Antwerp Art Weekend”. The three lines are a distinguishable feature throughout the arts festival, Naomi and Vincent intending to “create a dynamic system and not just a static logo”.
Mol Kiest Kunst is an exhibition in the city of Mol spanning four different venues, exhibiting a total of 90 artworks by Belgian visual artists. The best way to experience the exhibition is by cycling, and a specifically devised bike route is created for the exhibition. The custom typeface and visual identity is based on the connection that this route forms, creating a recognisable visual element through the various visual applications. “The statement stencil lettering ‘MKK’ is used as the main visual element to the exhibition, the aesthetic fitting in well with the city of Mol, as they both have a down-to-earth quality”.
In the short amount of time since Vrints-Kolsteren has been established, the studio has generated a wealth of well-designed projects, which suit the character of the client, as well as fostering intrigue from the people who encounter this studio’s bold output.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.