Atelier Brenda

Age: 24 — 26 — 27
Location: Brussels — Ghent — Oostende
Instagram: _bbbrrreeennndddaaa_

You might have seen their offbeat, somewhat eerie style shoot for us a while back, or come across their highly distinctive visual world on flyers and brochures all over the place. Graphic designers and creative directors Amélie Bakker and Atelier Brenda (Sophie Keij and Nana Esi) are one of the most prolific, exciting and oddly subversive collectives out there. What started as an online portfolio project turned into a creative platform for the trio to present their bold conceptual imagery and an aesthetic that lies squarely between the deliberate and the haphazard. While they each pursue their own individual projects in their own corner of Belgium, they collude every Thursday for their job as graphic designers for Beursschouwburg and do what they do best: communicating with imagery and staying chill the whole time.

Atelier Brenda

Can you briefly explain your activity/ies?
S: At the moment we are mainly focusing mainly on graphic design, but we are actually just creative directors. We try to communicate with imagery.

A: Graphic design is the main thing, but indeed, directing a shoot like we did for Subba’s issue ‘Mellow Yellow’ is also included in the job. It’s nice to have room to play, and take composition to a more spatial form.

How did Amélie Bakker and Atelier Brenda begin?
S: Nana and I were already working together for 4 years when we started building a website for our portfolio. Some time later we thought it seemed nicer to create an online space for creatives and asked Amélie Bakker to join us on the platform and started building the website together.

A: Atelier Brenda is a platform where we joined our forces and shared our work. Then, the three of us were invited at Beursschouwburg and became the new graphic designers, which is a really cool job! It’s nice to be and work with three totally different people. A new chapter: very exiting!

What are you working on for the near future?
A recent project together is, for example, a t-shirt print for, which is coming out soon.
We all still have our personal projects as individuals or duos. The main job together is at the Beursschouwburg. That’s our focus right now. Every Thursday we meet up at Beursschouwburg to work, because we live in a different cities.

Who or what are your role models/inspirations?
S: Strong independent but still compassionate woman, such as my mother and my grandmothers.

A: In life; being yourself, realness. In graphic design as well, you can see/feel when a design is thought through, when it grew from a strong conceptual idea or thought, and when it represents all of that. Everything can be inspiring, from a simple biscuit wrap to typography in the streets…

What’s your motto/mantra/idea that keeps you going?
S: It’s al about balance for me, I’m very extremely YIN YANG.

A: Enjoy your work, even when it sometimes gets very stressful.

What advice/lessons would you share with another young person in your field.
S: Use passiflora pills to chill.

A: Just chill.