Projects Somehow

Goodbye Volkskrant, hello SOMEHOW branded utilities

I’m leaving the newspaper the Volkskrant. For the last 4 years I designed new interfaces for news platforms and researched the future of news distribution. Besides my work at the Volkskrant I worked on installations, and other little interactive experiments.

I had a great time and am very proud of some of the projects I did. The new direction the newspaper is heading is not attractive for me personally. It’s time to move on and take the next step.

I believe information technology is such widespread that it’s a standard. This means everyone has access to it and knows how to use it.

Gartner has a scheme what they call the Hype Cycle. The Hype Cycle is like a wave, that transforms into a solid line. It says that any new technology has to go through these phases.

In this cycle I think the internet as media is in the last, fifth fase. We had the bubble, and it bursted. Followed by new hope and a strong recovery through Google and social media. Now we reach the productivity plateau. Nobody doubts the web anymore. It is widely accepted and used. Removing it today would be devastating to our economy and culture.

Gartner Hype Cycle SOMEHOW

We’re entering the internet of things. You aren’t surprised anymore if your tv, car or house is connected to a network. The network is everywhere. What we need right now are ideas that make a difference and stand out.

I like the shift to a utilized web, where functionality and a good concept are more important then the next technical innovation. My favorite internet things didn’t have much to do with technical innovation. Blogging, social networks, the iPhone. They didn’t thrive on new technology as much as they thrived on good ideas and implementation of technology.

Access to information – through technology – democratizes. This is true for many businesses. It also true for communication and advertising. This information age asks brands to engage, by storytelling, social skills or services. Communication through services is also referred to as “branded utilities”.

For someone who’s driven by making concepts, prototypes and new ideas using design and technology, things only get better. I think the costs of creating something have gone down a lot, at the same time competition has gone up. Creating a space for good ideas to stand out.

SOMEHOW branded utilities

With Marco van Heerde I started SOMEHOW. SOMEHOW is a company that makes interactive services. The company works from concept to project. We create concepts, designs and prototypes. We deliver by working with different technical partners, depending on the technology used in the concept. From concept to project. It’s almost like advertising, only the kind of advertising you like because it helps you.

The company has two type of projects. Personal driven and client driven. We believe in learning by playing and experimenting and research driven and iterative concept development. We learn and play with our personal projects and implement learnings for our clients.

The third pillar is the weblog Medialandschap. We use this place as an open research platform. This is an open group blog exploring trends, art, advertising and technology.

I’m very exited how SOMEHOW will turn out. I strongly believe in a researched based way of working, I like how service design is developing and I admire companies like IDEO.

I just started tumbling down a new rabbit hole, and loving it. For the news fans, don’t worry I’m still looking how to redesign news ;)

Contact me
E-mail me at, connect to me on LinkedIn or Skype me at
wilbertbaan if you want to meet, talk or just drink a beer.


15 replies on “Goodbye Volkskrant, hello SOMEHOW branded utilities”

Gefeliciteerd!! Geen bijeenkomsten met vkbloggers meer of juist wel? Succes in ieder geval en wie weet tot ziens, in de Burcht of City Hall of whatever!! En twitter natuurlijk :-)

Spannende en uitdagende stap, wens je heel veel succes Wilbert. En als je in de buurt van Arnhem bent, zou het leuk vinden om eens door te praten over branded utilities!


@Daan dat maakt niet zoveel uit, in principe iedereen die iets wil doen met interactieve media. Dat wil zeggen als je een dienst wilt maken in plaats van alleen een campagne. We hebben nu een paar dingen lopen en dat is erg uiteenlopend. Van het uitzoeken/maken van concepten hoe je mobiel in kunt zetten voor een heel groot schoonmaakbedrijf, tot een bluetoothinstallatie tot een boekingswidget voor een festival.

Ik geloof sterk dat je voor de eindgebruiker iets toe moet voegen. Het maken van bijvoorbeeld applicaties voor mobiel is veel goedkoper en interessanter dan het een paar jaar geleden was. Het probleem is wel dat het ook veel moeilijker is om iets te maken dat mensen ook echt willen/blijven gebruiken, dus heb je conceptueel sterkere dingen nodig.

Kort door de bocht. Dingen maken waar iedereen iets aan heeft.

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