Essentials by Wonderland
In our series ‘ESSENTIALS BY’ we ask inspiring creatives about their essentials. A little while ago we visited creative design studio Wonderland in their office space in Amsterdam. We had a nice talk with Martijn – the founder – about their creative work ethos, their ‘Damsco.’ sweater and their plans for the future. Wonderland makes stunning websites for cool brands (they designed the BXXLGHT site for example!), and also have some nice side-projects and a weekly online journal. Make sure to follow them on Instagram or Facebook to stay tuned and inspired! Alright, now sit back and enjoy a good story!
1. Winning so many awards and building these beautiful projects sounds really cool to us. Can you tell us a bit about how Wonderland started?
Yeah of course! Wonderland actually started out of frustration whilst working at a big advertising agency in Amsterdam. During my work as a designer at this company, there was no connection between the designer and the client. All communication came back and forth through an account manager and as you can imagine, this account manager wasn’t relaying the clients needs properly meaning a lot of design work had to be repeated over and over again, resulting in both frustrated clients and frustrated designers.
I knew there could be a more effective system and that’s how Wonderland was born. Here we specialise in working in small teams with the client as a direct extension of our team. The vision with Wonderland is to be organised into 3 teams of roughly 6-8 people – 80% of those are designers/developers, the rest are involved in content production and there is 1 team leader. Each team member works both individually and together to make the best possible experience for the client and in turn, the brand. Each team only works on 1–2 projects at a time and clients always stay within the teams. We don’t want to draw a line between ‘us’ and ‘them’, it’s really important for us to tackle things as collaborators and we believe our client’s input is fundamental to our success.
Besides the organisation side of things, Wonderland was also inspired by Rob Dydrek’s ‘Fantasy Factory’. Ever seen it? It’s a warehouse where an office is built but also a basketball field, go karts, buggies etc… Just a magical place where fun meets business. I wanted to create a place where you smile when you hear your company’s name.
2. Being an independent creative design studio how would you describe your style and where do you get your inspiration from?
We don’t really have a “Wonderland” style, we look at the problems that we need to solve for a client and come up with a solution/concept to make their product/service successful online! We do enjoy a clean, sharp image though and right now, we’re very into the industrial vibe.
In terms of inspiration, we use a lot of different website inspiration sites but Tumblr and Pinterest are also a good source for us. We like to offer insights into our studio culture and the way we work through posts on our journal and we’re actually working on a post now about the sites we visit daily for inspiration – so keep an eye on our journal!
3. We know you guys like to get up close and personal with your clients. Why is that and how does that translate into your work?
The client is the one that knows their own business best and since we invite them to be part of our team, we need to get close to have a full understanding of each other. That’s also why we are selective in picking clients; you can’t work together if there’s just no click with each other.
Whilst working together on a project, if we understand what each other needs to do, we can build something great together which helps the client to be successful online through design. Great design is a balance between: How does it work? How does it look? How does it feel?
4. You guys launched the ‘Damsco.’ sweater recently (which we really like!). Why and are there any other cool items coming up?
Thanks! Alongside our exciting web design load, we are also trying to establish ourselves as a bit of a lifestyle brand – we’re trying to achieve this through constant innovative side projects, from kick ass blog posts to slick fashion products. Everybody at Wonderland gets their own personal project, which we’ll then sell online in our web shop. This can be anything, well as long as it’s something cool and it looks sweet. Design must factor into it since that’s where we excel and we also have a strong interest in and appreciation of the lifestyle sector. The Damsco sweater was my idea, and we have another pretty slick project in the works. This one is under the command of Robyn, what is it? Well we can’t tell you that now, can we… SMILE.
5. What does Wonderland looks like 5 years from now? Any new dreams, future plans?
The dream is to build several small Wonderland studios throughout Europe, like stated above each studio would consist of 6-8 people and work on 1-2 projects a time. They are focused on making the best possible products together, always with the client as the main focus. One Team: Wonderland + Client
And last but not least, our three times dilemma!
1) Coffee or beer
2) Website or app
3) Comic Sans or Papyrus
Haven’t seen Wonderland’s list of essentials yet? Check their top three here!
© All photos are copyrighted by ALL ESSENTIALS.