ACCESS Magazine: A decade of design
2020-09-21 | By Daphne Vlachojannis
This issue of ACCESS Magazine marks the 10th anniversary since its redesign, and the team feels incredibly lucky that the project’s leading man from a decade ago, Marek Moggré, is still on board. So it’s a good time to shine a light on the longest-serving team member.
With his long, blonde, surfer hair and flawless Dutch, Marek Moggré does not give off the impression of a man who “grew up behind the Iron Curtain.” Born in 1974 in Prague, Marek made the “tricky journey” to the Netherlands at the tender age of five. He recalls fondly his first months in a Dutch school, when his mother sat by his side. Marek jokes that his mother then did the same with his older brother, receiving an even higher Dutch education.
A life of art
By the time he finished school Marek knew precisely what he wanted to do. Surrounded by art, “my mother was always drawing princes and princesses in Czechoslovakia,” his passion for drawing and painting had begun at a young age. “I went to the Royal Academy of The Hague and told them I love to draw and paint and wanted to do so on logos, posters and CD covers for metal bands. I was shocked when they told me they had a faculty for that– apparently it was called graphic design. Who knew?” Marek’s reference to his young, impressionable self is charming and heart-warming, traits that have clearly stayed with him over 25 years.
Since then The Hague has been home. “I looked at other cities,” Marek says, “but I love the sea. I don’t surf or anything–I’m a starfish–I just lay on the beach.”
Not immediately selected by the college, Marek phoned them every day for a month to ask why. The director of the faculty, impressed by his perseverance and motivation, granted Marek a place in the part-time, five-year evening programme. This suited young Marek perfectly, meaning he could keep his day job as a harbourmaster in Scheveningen.
A career in design
By the time he graduated in 2002, Marek had already been freelancing and working with a publishing company, but eventually decided to create his own business. The company was initially called ‘M_a_r_e_k_ _m_a_a_k_t_…’ _(Marek makes…). “We had our first office on the Brouwersgracht,” he reminisces, “but we had to move when the printer, our landlord, moved to a smaller office. Now we have a beautiful office on the Hoge Zand, where we can stay forever.”
Founded in 2013, the company is now called “M-space,” a nod to the bond between Marek and Maartje Schuurmans, his business partner. “Maartje is also involved with ACCESS. For one year she designed all the magazine covers.”
Marek’s journey with ACCESS began when his company was still Marek maakt… ACCESS had asked publishing company Dijkman & Partners to redesign its magazine, and Dijkman asked Marek to take on the project. This marked the beginning of a decade-long relationship. It also led to projects with RISS (Rotterdam International Secondary School) and Eerde International Boarding School The Netherlands, referred to M-space through the ACCESS community.
Marek describes his work with ACCESS as “smooth sailing from the beginning.” Not only did he enjoy the work, but he revelled in the new exposure to the international community.
“ACCESS and the whole international community were totally new to me,” he recalls. “I love their office potluck lunches. My father always said you must take what the country offers, so I always eat locally when I travel. The potluck lunches are like traveling through food.” The bounty of food from different cultures at these lunches reminds him of his favourite old adage, ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’
The assignment from Dijkman & Partners was to restyle the ACCESS logo and magazine, so Marek started the revamp by restyling the logo. Mindful of the local culture, he wanted to give the magazine an “uber Dutch look.” He reasons that “although it’s an expat magazine, it has to have some basis, and that basis is Dutch.” Hence the fonts he chose, created by Dutch designers, and the orange logo with a windmill, which doesn’t get more typically Dutch.
After logo and magazine, ACCESS asked Marek to design new communication materials, including banners and flyers for the IamExpat Fair, and the identity was developed over the following years.
Another 10 years?
How does Marek feel about being the longest-serving member of the magazine’s team? “I hope to survive longer–I hope to become the veteran. I love making the magazine.”
When he is not designing the magazine or working on other projects, Marek plays ice hockey, goes downhill mountain biking “super-fast,” and does yoga. “If I were a dictator,” he says, “I would say everybody must do yoga.”
Needless to say, ACCESS Magazine would not be what it is today without Marek Moggré, and everyone at ACCESS feels enormously fortunate to have him as part of the team.
Marek has seen the magazine develop considerably over the course of his tenure. “Over the 10 years, I’ve worked with several editors. With each issue and each editor, the bar was raised bit by bit. I loved working with all of them–they each had their unique approach to the magazine, which I’ve tried to keep in the design.”
Under Deborah Valentine, ACCESS’ Executive Director, Marek says “the magazine really blossomed–she’s a kind of octopus, she knows so many people, she has so many links.” Deborah returns the praise, “In a world of everchanging wonderful teams, having a ‘constant’ is a welcome relief, especially one who truly cares about all we do, and how we reflect all the talents who have made us. That, and Marek is fun to work with.”
“I like the magazine to be easy reading–nice and calm. I call it a quiet magazine. From my point of view, content comes first. It’s made for reading, so let’s make the reading as easy as we can,” says Marek.
Click here to enjoy a selection of ACCESS Magazines.
About the author
Daphne Vlachojannis is a New York-qualified international human rights lawyer who has worked around the world. In 2013 she settled in The Hague where she lives with her husband and three children. Daphne is passionate about languages and creative writing.