Roel Wouters

Roel Wouters

Roel Wouters

Process = Product

Roel Wouters and Luna Maurer will be part of the seminar where various designers will discuss how they bring their profession up to another level. When asked about their contribution to the seminar Roel keeps us in suspense. The only thing he wants to share is that it’ll be a performance and that it will be an experiment which is exciting for them but they have no idea if it will be as exciting for the world. But this is what is needed when you want to determine the efficiency of something previously untried.


This approach is second nature to Roel and Luna. Together with Edo Paulus and Jonathan Puckey, they wrote the Conditional Design Manifesto. In the manifesto, they plead to design the process instead of the result. The process is the product, logic is the tool and input is the material. There is no need to change the term graphic designer, according to Roel. He mainly likes to expand the term. During their Conditional Design Tuesdays, they work together with set limitations. They each have their own spot at the table and their own color and A1 sheets of paper. Every week they bring with new workshops to the table that will have them to play together and stretch the possibilities within their own rules.


This works no different in applied projects. Roel loves to embrace the restrictions and find freedom within those limits. He is not afraid of failure, which is the risk that comes with experiment. Previously he would design and define a precise form and control the final outcome as a director. Nowadays he creates circumstances in which things can happen that would allow an unforeseeable outcome.


One Frame of Fame shows a different approach to video making. The music video More is Less of C-Mon & Kypski co-directed with Jonathan Puckey is made with the help of 14358 people (and counting). Every hour the video is updated with the newest images. What made this crowdsourcing project successful was the really simple and specific question: ‘we need a little help from you and your webcam to finish off the music video’.

The process is the product, logic is the tool and input is the material.

Finding the true essence of an idea can be seen as decoding. In a video for the London based band Hot Chip the concept was brought back to the basis by putting the band into a small space and have them film the video themselves. Even though projects like these evolve from the experimental character of Roel’s previous videos for the Dutch band zZz, these clients cannot provide the freedom to fully experiment as most Dutch clients do. They want an experimental video without the risk.


All his experiments lead to new knowledge that will be put to use in new projects. For now, we wait in suspense for the outcome of the performance.


By Roos Giethoorn for Publication Graphic Design Festival Breda 2010 (now Graphic Matters)