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Pim van Helten and Michael Vromans: “Translating offline to online user experience is our speciality”

Rotterdan, October 15, 2015.

Pim-van-Helten-ProfilePim van Helten and Michael Vromans are DPDK’S CEO and Creative director. They work on creative strategy for clients and the daily management of this agency based in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

They took a few minutes and talked with TIA about their ways of inspiration, website’s future perspectives, important projects that the agency had and projects launching soon.

What do you do for inspiration?

 Michael Vromans: I love books but between my job and family life there’s very little time to sit down and read. I do however spend a lot of time on my way to or from the office or client appointments. So instead of listening to music, I listen to inspiring stories of great thinkers and storytellers from the creative industry, psychology and economics. It’s both efficient and inspiring as every time I set foot in the office, I have just heard a new insight that is relevant to what we’re doing that day.

Pim van Helten: For inspiration I work on creative & innovating projects together with my colleagues or take my bike and go for a ride in the forrest or the dunes.


Tell us about an important project DPDK had.

PVH: Peugeot challenged us to develop on activation as an extension of their TVC for the new 208. We developed an interactive Virtual Reality film for desktop & mobile; Catch the Dragon’. In the commercial, the energy of the new 208 translates to a dragon tattoo coming alive and flying out of the car. We used a workflow where we combined Photoshop, Blender3D and WebGL which enabled us to recreate the TV dragon to a dragon that could fly anywhere we wanted it to, as well as appear and disappear. The end result is an seamless experience from start to finish packed with beautiful animations and 360 video. The project was very successful; happy client and multiple awards.

Looking 5 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

MV: Technology and art are pushing each other to new heights within the digital industry every single day, so looking forward 5 whole years is nearly impossible. What we can expect is that digital products -whether it still be sites, apps or something completely new- will be present in all our daily life products and connected to one another. And while the medium and applications are still to be discovered, I think the system behind will be clear: it’s user centered and data driven.

PVH: I think websites will take over the web. With new upcoming techniques like WebGL, the web will be an even nicer place. Internet connections will only get better so the world will be able to stream richer content. Their will be less need for native applications and the desktop will slowly merge into the browser.

Which country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

PVH: I really like what’s going on at the moment in Europe’s start-up scene. Big start-up accelerators settle in Europe and there are some crazy ideas being developed. In addition, I see the agency scene of France and Italy delivering really nice design work.But the what excites me most is the continuous innovation of the biggest tech companies out there and their influence on consumer expectations and design standards.

MV: I’m right where I want to be: the Netherlands. Dutch Digital Design is soaring and startups like Peerby and Catawiki are getting attention worldwide. The Cambridge Innovation Center is setting up shop in our backyard here in Rotterdam and creative digital studies are popping up in several Dutch cities. We have the infrastructure, the ideas and the talent. All we need now is the right investors.

What are brand’s advantages on contacting DPDK for their development? What tips are included on having a project with DPDK?

PVH: Translating offline to online user experience is our specialty. We accept all challenging projects. That’s part of our company culture. Everyone in our team is resolute, and with over ten years of experience, we know there is a solution to any digital problem. And we know the way to creating that solution. Our clients know how to challenge the agency. Just like us, they’re digital leaders who know what they are dealing with and what they are looking for: a perfectly designed and implemented user experience.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

 PVH: Back in the days when I was in high school, I developed an idea for Valentine’s Day; it was a flashy website where you could post an anonymous message for someone else. For a week long I had the whole school refreshing the webpage. That was the moment when I knew my future was on the web.

MV: Let’s just say it looked ‘retro’ by today’s standards. It boasted quite a few animated gifs, thank god I admit this since they’re back in full swing. I started in digital design as many people in the industry: as a kid discovering this novelty called ‘internet’ and trying to get an @ to rotate or a button to change colour on mouse over. That first website boasted frames and tables that were written cell by cell. It was made using ‘Homesite’ -a WYSIWYG editor- and Photoshop 4, which had just come out at the time.

Is there something you want/need to stand out about DPDK? Any projects launching soon?

PVH: We’re very proud of interactive online platform which we recently launched for the luxurious car brand DS. From today, the visitors of side are invited to leave their singature either from desktop or mobile. Their autograph will then be translated realtime, using the WebGL technology, into one of a kind 3D digital art piece. On the online platform, which is at the same time an unique collection of contemporary 3D signatures, users will also be able to see how hundreds of single elements of each signature create a beautiful 3D models.

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