Red Dot mourns the loss of juror Michel de Boer

Dutch communication designer Michel de Boer died suddenly on 22 December 2021 at the age of just 67. “Michel de Boer was a Red Dot juror since 2009, and he was also our friend”, said Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot. “With his foresight, fairness and professionalism, Michel was a huge enrichment to the jury meetings for the Red Dot Award: Brands & Communication Design. We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Hilary and his family.”

Michel de Boer worked at the legendary Studio Dumbar in Rotterdam for almost thirty years – more than twenty of those as a partner. During that time, he helped shape the visual identity of many high-profile brands. He was responsible among other things for the new visual brand presence for the Dutch police at the beginning of the 1990s to mark the amalgamation of the state and municipal police authorities. In particular, everyone remembers the design of the police vehicles with the distinctive stripe on the doors, which is still very popular with the public today and served as inspiration for many other designs internationally.

What makes Michel de Boer’s work as a designer and expert for corporate identity and brand design special is that he understood that brand and design are inextricably linked. This approach also informed the work of his own design office, MdB Associates, which he founded in 2011. With offices in Germany, Korea and Hong Kong, he advised clients such as Apple, Nike, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. Together with Professor Min Wang, he opened a further agency in Shanghai, the De Boer Wang Studio, in 2014. De Boer was also a university lecturer and advisor at Tongji University, Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, Istituto Universitario Architettura in Venice and ISIA University in Urbino, Italy. “It was especially in these later stages of his career that the cosmopolitanism which also characterised Michel’s work as a designer came to the fore”, explained Peter Zec. “His ideas and plans always had an international dimension. He will be sadly missed, by us and by the international design community.”