Outsiders | Branding Design

We are Amsterdam

Clean reading and picture book with the stories of 40 Amsterdam newcomers.

The diversity of Amsterdam as a city with 180 nationalities, dates far back into her past when many craftsmen from the south of the Netherlands sought refuge in the city during the Spanish inquisition. Later on, an influx of foreigners followed from Germany and the Scandinavian countries at the end of the sixteenth century. In 2000, Martijn Frank Dirks also moved from the south to the capital of the Netherlands, with the goal of setting up his design agency surrounded by the numerous famous Dutch and international brands and companies based in the city. He hoped this was the way to gain experience and build up long term business relations.


His studio eventually became a success and he also found happiness in his private life. To give thanks for this, the book Outsiders was made in the year that his company studiomfd became 10 years old. A book telling forty stories of outsiders in Amsterdam, that he has met there in the last few years as well as a few he came to know during the course of writing the book. Just like Martijn, they all chased their dream and this led them to become insiders in the capital. This book is all about the opportunities that Amsterdam offers. It contains stories which give Amsterdammers a fresh look at the city of their life and career, and inspires outsiders to visit Amsterdam, to stay for a while or even to live/ work there. Come over and you can also contribute to this amazing city for ‘we are Amsterdam'.


Outsiders Amsterdam is a real ‘browse and read’ book, where you hang out, look around and are seduced into reading the stories behind the people. That is how it has been designed and laid out. We were aware that our choice of a clear black and white setting would let the stories and the people’s culture come to the foreground. Photographer Kasimir Szekers shot beautiful portraits of all the 40 outsiders, close-up and in their favorite spot in Amsterdam. The length of the stories combined with our invitation to ‘browse and read’, led us to choose a magazine-type format.

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