We’ve all been weighed down by promotional materials at some point. Personal or professional, there’s times when leaflets, brochures, USB sticks and cringe-inducing gimmicks have come our way like an avalanche. Death by marketing.
Look at tourist boards. A landslide of paper printed with stock images and slogans. Most of it ugly, lots of it bad, even the good gets lost in the deluge. Pamphlets brimming with alluring photography and must-see destinations, flyers catching your eye with offers and discounts. A visual noise descends and the point of it all is lost.
But what is the point of it? Quickly lost in a swamp of communication and catchphrases, the point of it all is to get you interested in the destination. To get you to the door of the attraction. To get you believing that the must-see cannot be missed. To get your attention.
In the age of the attention economy, it is more difficult than ever to achieve this goal, to have you believe and desire, and naturally the landscape of promotion is shifting. Of course, there’s plenty to be seen online, and Instagram in particular. There are campaigns targeted at ‘going viral’, art installations and augmented reality. But without being in a destination—living and breathing it, experiencing somewhere like a local may—it is difficult to achieve a sense of authenticity. Of truly ‘getting’ the place a campaign is selling. Which is where Antwerp comes into this story.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there is a truly intangible magic to Belgium’s second city. It has history of doing things its own way. In 2018 they proposed the question: “what is the future of This is Antwerp and Antwerp tourism.” But they didn’t ask those working within the tourism industry, they didn’t even ask the locals, they asked an assembled collective of international creatives; the creatives invited to take part in that year’s edition of their pioneering D.A.T.E. (Discover Antwerp Through Experience) project.
As we remarked then: “It’s a bold move to invite visitors to your city and ask them to tell you how to do your job. But Antwerp is a bold city.” And 2019 saw their boldest, yet most honest and authentic, approach to date—celebrating the project’s fifth year by welcoming back 12 creatives to delve further into the city’s creative communities than ever before. Collaborating with local creatives and entrepreneurs, understanding the Antwerp way of life, expressing their experiences through photography, illustration, design and writing.
The resulting city notes are authentic and creative impressions of a city with creativity at its heart. They are perceptions and interviews, profiles and insight. A true document of Antwerp’s originality and inventiveness. And they are compiled in This is Antwerp ART BOOK; a singular antidote to death by marketing, a coffee table book of innovation and progressiveness.
A world away from a pamphlet or brochure, This is Antwerp’s inspired compendium of culture is exactly the sort of marketing material one would expect from anyone with even the slightest of grasps upon how this city operates. In a city of surprises, this beautifully produced art book cuts against the grain of what we perceive tourism marketing to be.
Inside, you can expect the discoveries of international creatives such as Polish designer Pawel Nolbert and Spanish illustrator José Antonio Roda plotted against insider knowledge from local talent including DJ and curator David Tricot and conceptional artist Jelle Spruyt; each contributing to one of four key scenes: design, future, arts, and subcultures.
You will see Antwerp described through the medium of typeface (serif in the centre, sans at the edges, for those asking); meet an eco-warrior ‘pirate’ who runs kids’ workshops with a cutlass-edge of the adventurous to them; discover the story behind the Street Art Antwerp website and app; uncover the timeless elegance of iconic venues such as Graanmarkt 13 and the staggering new August hotel.
With each of its twists and turns into Antwerp’s fervent creative and entrepreneurial landscape, This is Antwerp ART BOOK provides detail and context. Find yourself transported into the future of lifestyle, mobility, consumption and work; and explore the city’s subcultures through the lens of inclusivity, empowerment, diversity and opportunity.
“You want a diverse group of people who think differently,” says Sainabou John of community project, Let’s Go Urban. She is talking about her socio-cultural training programme, but it’s a statement that applies to the city as a whole. By their very nature, cities are places of diversity, but not all embrace it as a positive thing. Antwerp, home to Europe’s second largest port, lives and breathes its diversity, it is fundamental to its makeup. And This is Antwerp ART BOOK is testament to how that diversity informs its rich creative spirit.
Diverse in creative disciplines, diverse in its contributors, diverse in its approach to promoting the city, this is a project that embodies the temperament that sets Antwerp apart. And you can have a copy on us…
An inspired document of Antwerp’s innovation and creative appeal, This is Antwerp ART BOOK shows a city playing by its own rules. It is beautifully designed, printed with finesse, and thoughtfully compiled. And the first 100 of you to get in touch with us will have a copy delivered to their door.
If you want to get your hands on this inspired coffee table book, then simply send an email to us at [email protected] with your full name, address and phone number. The information you supply is only so your book can be delivered and will not be used for any other reason nor saved on file.