what makes an apple?

de appel arts center, amsterdam

De Appel (the Appel Arts Centre) was founded by Wies Smals in 1975 – its original logo was a stamp with a picture of an apple. Graphic designer Will Holder later introduced a new logo of a friendly bright red apple which he found in an American children’s book. This apple has a large uniform shape with two small detailed leaves on the top. When De Appel moved to its new building on Prins Hendrikkade in 2012, director Ann Demeester asked us to design its new identity.

inspiration  De Appel once occupied an old all boys’ school on Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat in Amsterdam where its identity was intertwined with the history of its surroundings. By moving to Prins Hendrikkade it changed shape and identity, leaving a specific niche and broadening its horizon. We wanted the apple – the symbol for the institution – to reflect this transformation.

how it got done  We aimed to keep the apple as a well-fitting logo while giving it a new impulse. We found the previous logo quite diverse in its simplicity. Upon closer inspection, the apple itself is a large flat shape and the two small leaves are very detailed with relief. Instead of focusing on the apple (the red flat shape) we took the leaves as the starting point. We kept the dynamics of the flat shape and the detailed leaves, but for the flat shape itself we started working with different forms: red squares, triangles etc. This created space to play around with, without losing the identity. These days the logo is very recognizable through the use of the leaves.

client profile  De Appel organizes exhibitions, performances, screenings, lectures and gatherings that explore artistic and discursive boundaries. This is De Appel’s contribution to the artistic and socially relevant dialogue between cultural and social institutions in Amsterdam and beyond.