Marco-Paul de Jeu — CapeRock

6 Questions with Marco-Paul de Jeu of Amsterdam based design studio CapeRock

How did you get started?

We have started our agency Dare in October 2008. 

The agency is founded by Dann Smit and myself after having worked at MTV Benelux for some years, respectively as Creative Director and Marketing Director. At MTV we worked on the transformation of MTV from a music brand into a meaningful youth brand and we worked on many great channel rebrands, campaigns and events. Working together went so smooth, was always inspiring and complementary, which formed the ground to start our own agency at one day. That day became October 1st, 2008.

After a successful start we transformed our agency Dare into CapeRock in January 2010. This was also the moment that Martijn Wolff joined our company as third Partner in the position of Head of Production. With having Martijn onboard as well, we were able to combine Strategy, Design and Production, to offer our clients fully integrated media branding solutions. From Strategy to Screen.

Since our start, we have grown into a leading design agency with a Team of 14 experts specialised in the branding of media companies and broadcast channels, products and programs. Our studio is located in the heart of Amsterdam, from where we collaborate with international clients and media companies in different markets in Europe and beyond. Our ambition has always been to play at the forefront of media design and to develop cutting edge design for our clients. To inspire large audiences with great visual design is what drives us.

Tell us about CapeRock, who are you and what do you do differently than other design studios?

We are a media branding & design agency. 

Our purpose is to help our clients to define and visualise the ambition that lies at the core of their brand with the aim to grow their audience and increase their brand value. To achieve this we combine Strategy, Design, Motion, Music, to develop integrated media branding solutions. 

We have a proven record of crafting solutions that translate to growing audiences. We have an extended understanding of the media landscape and design industry, which leads into a clear voice and critical opinion about trends, styles, executions, technologies and innovations, that we translate into relevant directions in client projects. 

It’s creativity that is at the heart of our company and at the heart of what we do. It is the filter through which we look at our clients ambitions. We put our creativity in Strategy, Identity Design, Motion Design, Digital Design, AV production, Sound Design, to bring our clients ambitions to life into exciting outcomes for all media and platforms.

Our culture is shaped on our belief that great design makes a positive impact and is a driver for change. We have 5 core values that lie at the heart of our culture:

– Dare: Push yourself.
– Share: Made to be seen.
– Care: Working with. Not for.
– Bold: Clarity reigns.
– Results: The eyeballs never lie.

It’s this mix of Purpose, Power, People & Culture that makes us different.

What’s your creative process? How do you work?

Our company structure is based on three integrated disciplines that are inseparable: Strategy, Creation, Production

Based on our relevant expertise and experience, the three partners of CapeRock each manage one of the disciplines within each project. Besides our clear company structure, we have a strategic and structured approach in regard to our creative process, which is focussed on connecting our design and creativity to the strategy of our client. To do so successfully, we have defined our creative process into 5 clear steps that we take our clients through: 

– Define
– Discover
– Design
– Iterations
– Produce

Each project is guided by project-management to monitor the quality, time and budget within our projects and to be able to deliver great work to our clients.

What are the challenges running a medium size design studio?

In our opinion the main challenges of running a medium size design studio are:

– To keep pushing the boundaries to innovate the work for our clients;
– To dedicate our resources to projects as efficient and effective as possible. We are always balancing between the daily workload, the availability of our staff, the projects and projects in the pipeline that we have to work on. Change thereby is the only constant factor, that influences the planning of our resources continuous.
– To market yourself, as we are a service orientated company in which clients always come first.

Finally a note on pitches that are a challenge for agencies. We believe great work is made together with great clients and in close collaboration between the agency and the client. To make excellent creative work you need to push each other and that requires an open, trustful and respectful environment that enables to have clear and honest conversations between the agency and the client. Together you need to be willing to push the boundaries. 

The pitch process in general doesn’t offer an open, trustful and respectful environment. Its therefore that we don’t believe in the pitch process that still many companies choose for and really would like to make a stand for media companies to select your creative partner based on your experience, capability and knowledge of the market.   

You’ve been around the media and tv industry for quite some time. What has changed design wise in the past years?

Over the last 5 years you have seen a very clear impact from the digitisation of the media industry and the further fragmentation of media consumption on todays design.

The growing number of platforms for media brands have created a bigger need for consistent and distinct brand assets that can be applied to all media and channels. Also, the convergence between media has become more important and the user experience you offer forms a key design aspect as well. 

What is the future for broadcast branding and branding in general? 

Fact is that you see a growing number of streaming platforms that are launched and will be launched in the next 3-5 years. Data collection, analysis and usage will become more important to drive interest on a personal level and with increased relevance and effectiveness. Interesting will be to see how the user experience of each channel and how the convergence between channels will be improved using design, motion, sound, in combination with the use of data and implementation of new technologies. 

As competition is growing fierce, media companies require clear brand positions and distinct brand assets that cut through the clutter of promotion and advertising. We believe media companies need to invest in their strategy and brand design to strengthen their market position. We believe that it is important for media companies to look at their distinct brand assets carefully and connect these to the strategy of their brand. To stand out from the clutter you need to develop branding that is clear, bold and entertaining.

More about the work of CapeRock

Published by

Timothy Helmer

Designer, curator of Let's Talk Design and founder of Creative Network.