In cooperation with Stephen Hodes of LAgroup, we oversaw a process for the profile description of the cultural urban region 025 Arnhem Nijmegen from 2017 to 2019. A process that the municipality of Arnhem, the municipality of Nijmegen, the province of Gelderland, Cultural Network Arnhem and Cultural Network Nijmegen worked on for two years. The result: a living document in which plans are founded for a clear joint profile as a cultural urban region.

Process support

For 025, we used our expertise as graphic designers to guide a complicated process. As graphic designers, we visualized the process, which resulted in more commitment and control.

A complex structure in which many different parties have to work together to create a unified profile. How can two different cities that have had their backs to each other for years work together? What are the possibilities? What are the ambitions? What can be done in concrete terms? How do we bring government and the cultural sector together? How do we create support and ownership? What are the key focal points and how can we make these two different cultures work together? 

By organizing meetings with workshops, presentations and conversations, we created mutual contact, which facilitated collaboration and exchanges. We condensed concrete information into new presentations and questions. The living document is a tangible result of an exploration of possibilities.

Ownership through visibility

Within the process, we developed two identities. An identity for the research and introductory process, and an identity for presenting the results. The name of the first section is 'search', a single internal name and identity combined with hyphens in the shape of the rivers Waal and Rhine. The essence of this identity is literally in the name.

The second identity was formed in order to go public with the process and the findings. The name '025 Arnhem Nijmegen' is a region name in which 025 becomes the link between the area codes 026 and 024. The identity has two arches that represent the rivers and the bridges that connect both cities. The colours we took from the identity 'search' were used throughout the process to visualize Arnhem, Nijmegen and the joint components in every design.

The living document

The living document is a cahier. Arnhem and Nijmegen were each assigned a colour in the identity, which we have used throughout the document. This makes it instantly visible whether the information concerns Arnhem or Nijmegen. 

In terms of content, the document discusses the DNA of both cities, cultural differences, shared ambitions and a pictorial essay.

The living document was launched in October 2018. A document that sets out plans for greater cooperation between the two cities. Councillors Noël Vergunst (Nijmegen) and Hans de Vroome (Arnhem) planted an apple tree, watered it with water from the Waal and Rhine and both networks signed the living document.