___excerpt, bio GERT DUMBAR
___other work with Gert Dumbar includes various concept-driven argumentations and presentations for international competitions, corporations and governments

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___An iconoclast, Dumbar believes that graphic design derives its authority and authenticity from the quality of thought that informs the deed (read: the design solution) rather than from the deed itself. How one looks at and experiences (this is key) a given design problem determines the context or pattern of thought that informs the solution. As far as Dumbar is concerned, the thrust of graphic design has more to do with mentality than creativity. Context is everything.

Dumbar was born in 1940 in Indonesia where he lived for several years before emigrating ?home? to The Netherlands with his family. The resulting dichotomy of place ? the lush, full-spectrumed tropics versus the ascetic, monochromatic north ? has, ever since, impacted how he sees and responds to the world. In fact, Dumbar?s work as a graphic designer can be characterized by an inherent desire to reconcile the irreconcilable: a word is not a picture is not an object is not a word. His designs ? indeed, how he sees and experiences the world ? embody the necessary dialectic between opposing (exquisitely human) forces: order/disorder, utility/ornament, reason/emotion, restraint/freedom, conformity/rebellion, et cetera.  

Gert Dumbar hails from a family of civic-minded free-thinkers, some of whom, trained as barristers, were iconoclasts in their own right (for instance, advocating fair play at a time when such notions were considered naive and, worse, detestable). In the environment in which he grew up, debate was regarded as a means of unearthing one?s passions and beliefs while putting them to the test; less as a vehicle of contention and more as a tool for sharpening one?s own mind. Not surprisingly, Dumbar has always warmed to debate and encouraged it in others.

If debate is a tool, humor is a whetstone. In order to be truly liberated in thought and action, Dumbar contends it is essential to see the humor in all things. Humor is potent, penetrating and memorable. It has nothing to do with propriety and decorum (the most delimiting of human conceptions) and everything to do with essence. It opens the mind to incongruities and peculiarities, which, in turn ? if one stays open ? make way for the discovery of stirring analogies, the stuff of successful communications. Dumbar is, in many ways, a master humorist.

On entering the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague, Dumbar?s ambition was to become an artist___

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Meghan Ferrill