ONE WEEK ABOUT Design from Arnhem by Ontwerp Platform Arnhem
In 2006, something happened that most designers can only dream of. Daniel Gross and Joris Maltha of the Arnhem-based graphic design studio Catalogtree were called by someone from The New York Times Magazine. If they wanted to make a number of infographics? Other American magazines called not long after. How come that Gross and Maltha received commissions from Americans who did not know them at all? It was not entirely a matter of chance or luck. Joris Maltha studied at the Department of Graphic Design of ArtEZ in Arnhem and continued his studies at the University of Brighton and the Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem. Daniel Gross ended up at the same Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem after a study in Germany. Among the teachers that taught Gross and Maltha in Arnhem were Wigger Bierma and Karel Martens.
Although Bierma and Martens were graphic designers specialized in book design and printing and had their roots in the analog era, Gross and Maltha learned a lot from their analytical approach of the design process. They had been guided by this approach when developing their own fascination and field of activity: the graphical representation of data. The computer and the Internet make it possible to collect large amounts of data within a short period of time. The graphic display thereof then creates the possibility to use reality in order to create different images. Where, how, and according to what algorithms and other ways does one come to this or that image? This requires critical reflection on your own work. Daniel Gross and Joris Maltha turned this complex matter into their livelihood. In 2001, they founded design firm Catalogtree. They met with so much acclaim that in 2006 the American magazine Design Magazine highlighted them as belonging to the list of the 40 most underestimated designers of that moment.
The mention led to the phone call from The New York Times Magazine and a number of commissions from other American magazines. As clients, the Americans have by now faded into the background. Also the world of magazines was hit hard by the credit crunch of 2008. A nuisance for Daniel Gross and Joris Maltha, but not a drama. Catalogtree is a relatively small and therefore agile firm. Daniel Gross and Joris Maltha are now working on other interesting projects, such as a book by the Berkeley-based architect and urban planner Nicholas de Monchaux. In 2011 designer Nina Bender joined Catalogtree as the third partner of the firm, which will soon open an establishment in Berlin. Want to know more?
Read the interview with Daniel Gross, Joris Maltha and Nina Bender on the website van Ontwerp Platform Arnhem
Text: Peter Nijenhuis