Finalists DDA Best Client Award 2017

September 7 2017

The top three Dutch Design Awards (DDA), Best Client Award finalists are all very different indeed, but what they have in common is that they are shining examples of the way in which good commissioning in relation to design is developing in the Netherlands at the moment. National Opera & Ballet, Koninklijke Mosa and Royal FloraHolland excel in their clear-cut long-term vision and professional commissioner and entrepreneurship. They leave the other 19 on the long-list in their wake. These three finalists’ cases can be seen along with the work of the other finalists in a retrospective exhibition during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (21-29 October). All winners will be announced on 28 October during the Awards Show.

The Best Client Award is the prize for clients who deploy designers and design strategically for their company. Important criteria include the degree of professionalism, strategy, sustainability and innovation. The selection committee has observed the following interesting developments: “Design is not just concerned with aesthetics, communication and identity, but it also impacts platforms, systems and business. To fulfil this role successfully, designers need to present themselves more proactively and with more accountability. It is striking how enormous the professional area has become: new coalitions and new processes are being developed, small design studios work alongside large agencies and individual projects run in parallel to long-term collaborations.”

Royal FloraHolland, Maarten Nauw
Koninklijke Mosa
Nationale Opera & Ballet, Petrovsky & Ramone



Lesley Moore developed a new house style and communication tools for the National Opera & Ballet, in which the worlds of opera and ballet meet. Partly due to the striking and consistent poster and video campaigns this has been a resounding success. Popular spin-offs have been established that resonate with the objectives, like the Opera Forward Festival (OFF). For the OFF, Lesley Moore has drawn inspiration from the briefing with the theme ‘let’s shake things up’ and the overarching objectives of appealing to a younger and wider public. This experimental and - all the same - accessible festival has been organised annually since 2015 and unites younger target groups within the walls of the opera and ballet house. This collaboration revealed new insights about reaching and activating the under 35s, with impressive results. The National Opera & Ballet has developed an exceptionally successful collaboration with design studio Lesley Moore, who has been responsible for the development of the National Opera & Ballet brand, its sub brands and the styling for the Opera Forward Festival since 2014.

Committee statement: This is a long-term collaboration in which design has more than proven its worth. The increasing (young) audience numbers demonstrate the effectiveness. The committee praises the selection of Lesley Moore for the creation of a framework in which other creative professionals can subsequently work. They collect makers around them and create space for new creative interpretation. Lesley Moore acts as an art director here. For the committee, it is clear that the client has continued to develop and clearly understands what design can do for their organisation. The National Ballet & Opera offers a rich pallet of creative professionals the opportunity to contribute something worthwhile, from graphic designers to scenery designers and from choreographers to photographers.


Koninklijke Mosa is a global player in the field of ceramic surfaces: the company located in Maastricht designs and manufactures floor and wall tiles, incorporating sustainability, design and innovation in their vision. Since 2015 Koninklijke Mosa has been expanding its international position through focusing on three main themes: service design (improving the work process for the customer), brand design (emphasizing a unique visual identity) and communication design (actualising and enriching the collection). Design agency Zuiderlicht is engaged by Koninklijke Mosa for all these strategic design components on a structural basis. Since seeking an agency to visualise the company strategy seventeen years ago, Koninklijke Mosa has seen the relationship with Zuiderlicht blossom to become a close-knit and successful collaboration.

Committee statement: The committee considers Koninklijke Mosa interesting because design takes a central role in the company, with both an in-house design team, and a long-term relationship with the design agency Zuiderlicht. The intensive collaboration has resulted in Zuiderlicht regularly joining the table for internal change processes, so that their role extends well beyond that of purely a supplier. This is how design ensures added value. The client has a clear vision and solid basis. This could be described as a textbook example where product design, communication and strategy are in perfect harmony.


At the end of 2015 Royal FloraHolland (RFH) presented the Vandejong Creative Agency with a request to design their strategy focused on new consumers. Royal FloraHolland’s field of activity (market leader in cut flowers and plants trading) is shifting from the auction in Aalsmeer to digital trading. Which is why RFH sought new ways to position itself as a brand and to stimulate the sales of flowers and plants, within the scope of their innovation programme 2020. Based on research and strategic planning, Vandejong developed Let it Grow: an inspiration and innovation brand that focuses on the leading edge of discerning consumers in European cities. A fluid team resulted from this with people from Vandejong, Let it Grow and Royal FloraHolland. Through this, the new organisation is not separate from the initiating parties, and the client remains closely involved in the development of content that fits the overall vision.

Committee statement: The committee was impressed by this case and recognises a party in Royal FloraHolland that has seen design as an essential part of its operational management for a long time. RFH is confronted with stiff competition and a market in flux. The organisation has to reinvent itself against this backdrop. The deployment of designers and the application of design play an important role here. This bears witness to an unequivocal vision of how design can make a difference and how to tackle this as a client. Vandejong has tackled the assignment in an original way, dares ‘to flip-think’ and has successfully transformed the problem into an innovative and executable concept.