Niels Otterman
I'm a Dutch Arnhem based graphic designer and design researcher, graduated at the ArtEZ University of Arts in Arnhem. If you would like to ask me anything else, feel free to contact me via e-mail or phone.

2014 – 2019
ArtEZ University of Arts Arnhem Graphic Design Bachelor
Exhibited at Graphic Design Festival Breda
Exhibited at Graphic Design Festival Scotland

Exhibited and nominated for Crypto Design Award
Internship Design Researcher at Untold Stories (Ruben Pater)

Internship Visual Designer at Studio Louter
+31 6 134 11 474
Dutch World Expo 2020: Beware of the Flood
In 2020 will Dubai host the World Expo. The theme of the Expo is based upon finding new energy sources since the United Arab Emirates runs out of fossil fuels. The contribution of the Netherlands to the World Expo is an installation that runs on water, air and food.

But is it appropriate for the Dutch during the World Expo to come up with a solution for the problems of another nation? The Netherlands will struggle within a couple of decades with preventing itself from flooding since the water level will rise with a quick pace. So it’s a bright idea to think of our own problems as well. World Expo 2020: Beware of the Flood is a fictional exhibition which is about what designers and artists shall contribute to the World Expo that prevents our country from flooding. Both the exhibition as the design gets rid of the nationalism of the World Expo. I encourage artists to come up with contributions that is a potential answer to the issues of their own countries instead of ones for the host. That will do good for both the participating nation as for the exhibition. The design is made as neutral as possible. It shouldn’t tell which country brings which problem to the table or who is hosting the World Expo, since each nation is a part of the collective.
Geen Onderdaan
Geen Onderdaan (No Subject) is a serie of posters and stickers to protest against the Dutch royalty. The Netherlands is a monarchy for 300 years and we celebrate it every year on Kingsday. In 2013, during Kingsday, a student named Joanna and another protestor got arrested at the Dam in Amsterdam because she held a piece of cardboard above her head with the text "Ik ben geen onderdaan" ("I am no subject") written on it. It was a statement against the monarchy. Although the police corps of Amsterdam apologized for the arrest, Joanna said later that her voice was silenced by the force of law. Especially since she was hold captive at the police office until the festivities in the city were over. The monarchy is one of the few topics in the Netherlands that is not allowed to criticize. According to article 111, and 112 of the Dutch consitution (which was written in 1881), it is against the law to offend the sitting king or queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The penalty for this offense is an imprisonment of maximum 5 years. Both the monarchy and the law that makes the royal family untouchable does not fit in a developed democracy as the Netherlands.

As an assignment of the 'Republikeins Genootschap' (the Dutch republic society) I've made a set of stickers and two posters. One poster and two stickers that protests against the monarchy, and one poster and two stickers that supports the republic.

You can buy the stickers and the posters at the webshop of the Republikeins Genootschap.
Internship report
From August until December 2018 I had my internship at Studio Louter in Amsterdam. This required an internshipreport which summarized my 5 months at the studio.
Tribute to Eternity (Thesis Design)
‘I am now in this place where you should never come. We call it Onkalo. Onkalo means ‘hiding place’. In my time it is still unfinished though, work began in the 20th century when I was just a child. Work would be completed in the 22nd century long after my death. Onkalo must last one hundred thousand years. Nothing built by man has lasted even a tenth of that time span. But we consider ourselves a very potent civilization. If we succeed, Onkalo will most likely be the longest lasting remains of our civilization. If you, sometime far into the future, find this, what will it tell you about us?’

With this speech the Danish director Michael Madsen started of his documentary Into Eternity (2010) and his speech are the first lines of my thesis: Tribute to Eternity. In this thesis I discuss the problems that goes along with designing a message that is ment for the distant future. Scientists, novelists, philosophers and artists attempted to create a method or artefact that successfully sends a message to the far future. Some of them were actually attempts (like The Crypt of Civilisation of dr. Thornwell Jacobs or the Human Interference Task Force, which I also mention in my project A 10,000 Years Message Send, Before the Sea Becomes my Friend), but others were more symbolic gestures that should be considered as direct messages to humanity (Trevor Paglen's The Last Pictures and the Voyager Golden Records). But almost all of them made the same mistakes that leads to (un)intentionally racism, westernisation and toxic patriotism.

The design for my thesis is a steel plaque that has both a futuristic look due the choice of material, but has also a strong visual connection with plaques of the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian era.
Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk
On the Internet some white young men find each other in their agony of losing their social superiority to other cultures or groups who identify themselves by sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity other than white or heterosexual. They post-ironically share obscure memes on image-boards as 4chan as an exportation of their ideology. However, the radicalisation of these memes is fed with issues that young men have to deal with, such as sexual frustration and toxic masculinity. To proof the ambiguous meaning behind these memes, this project focuses on the iconography of milk that has the meaning of white supremacy and strength on one hand but also dependency, infantilism and femininity on the other. Lies the problem only in the toxic community of right wing Internet trolls, or are these young men also an example of the issues that goes along with our capitalistic view on masculinity?

This project was part of the final exhibition on ArtEZ Finals in 2019. With this work I graduated at ArtEZ University of Arts in Arnhem (Netherlands) in 2019 with the bachelor Graphic Design. This video was part of an installation which featured a bed put on a plateau so it could refer to a boys room. What started as a journalistic view on the image culture that is used by the Alt-Right, became eventually a very personal project. Am I as a young adult male struggling with issues around masculinity and sexual frustration an easy target for the extreme right who circles around these fears like vultures? And what can we conclude if by far most of the supporters of this new extreme ideologie on the internet is white, heterosexual and male? Milk represents what a lot of these men are as well. It is used to as a token of support to white supremacy and over masculinity (drink a lot of milk, if you want to become big and strong), but the other side of the coin shows a symbol of weakness, infantilism and dependancy. Dependancy on a strong leader or representant (think about the heavy support to Donald Trump, Jordan Peterson or Alex Jones who are considered undoubtedly as the standard-bearer of the truth according to the Alt-Right) and the rejection of progressive movements that questions the position of the white heterosexual man in the modern age.
Visual Memory: An Interview of Michel Ciment with Stanley Kubrick
In 1981 Michel Ciment interviewed Stanley Kubrick about his movies and his influences and published that in his book Kubrick. In that interview they were both dropping names and using terminology that is not always considered as common knowledge. Since it is never explained anywhere what this terminology means, the reader could have a hard time following this conversation. I addapted this interview in a new book and explained who the mentioned people are and what the definition is of their references. I took this interview from the website and the source of all the definitions is Wikipedia.
One of the posters was used during the debate at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam about how we can maintain the locations where the counter culture in Amsterdam assembles.
Van Wie is de Stad?
Together with a.o. Ruben Pater, we created a serie of posters to protest against the increasing prices of the house market in Amsterdam, which makes it impossible for the working class to buy or rent a house close to the central part of the city. We called out the people from Amsterdam to put these posters behind their windows and support our fight against the increasing prices of the house market. You can download and print these posters from the (Dutch) website
In Conversation With Lucas Le Bihan
This is a serie of posters about an interview with me and the French typographer and graphic designer Lucas Le Bihan. I talked with him about the value of open source typedesign and every answer and question is calculated in what it would cost if you would publish it in a newspaper. The font that is used in this project is called Avara and it is created by Le Bihan and Raphael Bastide.
Het Paleoproces
A book that discusses the debate about the paleo-diet. It includes articles that are pro-, anti- and neutral about the paleo diet.
A 10.000 Years Message Send, Before the Sea Becomes My Friend
To warn the people in the future for the nuclear waste in Onkalo, Finland I've made an artifact that will keep his existence for 10,000 years. The same time nuclear waste lose his radioactivity. It is an hypothetical solution to the problem that is questioned by the Human Interference Task Force.
Around the World in 80 Ways
A visualisation how a hashtag travels over the world via twitter in a very short time. The passports are a metafore for traveling throught the internet and everytime a person tweeted it from another country, the passport got a stamp of the time and place the hashtag was tweeted.
Book of Gerhard Richter
Book of the work of the German painter Gerhard Richter
Poster GDFB
A poster that took part of an exhibition at the Graphic Design Festival Breda 2015. It was made around the question how you would explain to everyone what your occupation is.