Frederik Danko

Strategic Brand Designer

Design is thinking made visible.

Brands are like people. Brands, like people, are all about trust. People, your customers, choose your brand partly because it fits who they are and what they care about, because it feels good and familiar. Let's talk branding.

Branding is about design as well as content. It's more than just a logo and a good website. It's about the content and visual tone of your brand. It's about knowing what moves the people you want to reach, so that your communications connect accordingly. For me, this process starts with a good chat and a strategic approach. Let's meet.


Maybe the first thing I saw in 1974 was something about Philips having a banner year that year. Lamps, clean clothes or music? Certainly something about washing machines, they were on the rise then. Or was it something from the Ramones popping through the Philips speakers? Could be because the Ramones were hot that year and played their first concert in New York and Philips also gave its speakers a serious update. But what is certain is that brands, or what a brand is or should be, have nestled themselves in my head. Subconsciously or consciously.

Especially water played a big role that year. Perhaps the best Swedish export product, next to Ikea, wins the Eurosong Contest with Waterloo. And an american went quiet for a while after a scandal. Volkswagen launched its first Golf with a water-cooled engine that year, and Radio Noordzee International, along with Radio Veronica, stops broadcasting from the sea. Fortunately, a few rebellious Belgians, Radio Mi Amigo, continued broadcasting with radio recorded in Spain.

The miracle years

I didn't know Kevin until the end of my wonder years, somewhere around the mid-'86 period. Before that I ran school and had hobbies I didn't know if they were relevant to what I would do later. Of course, now I know better :-). One of those hobbies became my profession and daily activity. Being creative, with a frame of mind where social relevance is paramount. Kevin knew it for sure: "When you're a little kid you're a bit of everything." You get everything, but only later can you put the puzzle pieces together nicely and make them fit. Check :-).

In that year, thanks to the hand of god and a little Argentine, perhaps the most talked about goal came about. In Mexico, Belgium played its best World Cup ever after failing to award the northern neighbors a ticket toward the sun in the barrages. The love for the game with the ball only increased. Oh yes, Milka also launches Nussini and the Lilac Pause that year.

Something with a P

You have school and school. You can choose something because you have to go to school, or you can choose to do something with school. I chose the second. School for me was something to give me direction and make sure I could form the basis of what I might need later. From XL to HL and a P was added as well. And the foundation was there. Being creatively stimulated, but with a solid educational foundation. A win/win, as it turned out later.

Rage against

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me. 1996 at Werchter. Rain or not. Getting in did it. A performance that to this day gives me motivation and inspiration every day to go "the extra mile." Nothing is what it is and we must assume it is. Taking the challenge every day and questioning. Yes, bring it on. Give credit to Zack de la Rocha. Rage Against the Machine is the debut album (1992) by the band Rage Against the Machine. Q magazine called Rage Against the Machine 1 of the 50 best albums of all time. Unfortunately, that year there is also the Bijlmer disaster. We get to deal with the airplane as a weapon for the first time. And that year, PepsiCo includes oranges in its lineup, namely Tropicana, Looza and Alvalle.

David's nails

In 1999, Nine Inch Nails released the album Fragile. This was their third album, produced by frontman Trent Reznor. A headline-grabbing album. But not only does the music intrigue me, so does the cover design. This is my first introduction to David Carson, a graphic designer, who has inimitably turned typography into an art form. For me, from then on, it was clear: I want to do something with this. To this day, he remains one of my greatest sources of inspiration. And even more so after his legendary presentation at OFFF Milan in 2018, which I was able to witness live, where he goes to the essence of what for him is a logo. The Brand Acumen case is a fantastic example of this. In the aftermath of The Matrix, the banana-shaped Nokia 8110 (and successor 7110) were very briefly the hippest phones in the world that year. But the cell phone of all cell phones is still the Nokia 3310. Just about everyone who had a portable phone at the beginning of this century was walking around with this Nokia 3310 - and if you didn't have one, you knew at least five people who did.

Mad monkeys & Amelie

Hello 2-D, Noodle, Russel Hobbs and Murdoc Niccals. The Gorillaz are born. Thank you Damon and Jamie. The style of music is a combination of hip-hop, dub, dance and rock. Cartoonist Hewlett mainly deals with the visual part and the story surrounding the Gorillaz world. Be sure to check out the single Clint Eastwood. For me a visual revelation and the moment to start working with drawing gear again. During this period, I also rediscover Le Fabuleux Destinin d'Amélie Poulain. Visual splashes of color and a fantastic story. The film describes the fairy tale and romantic story of the young woman Amélie who one day decides that she can make other people happy with little things. But most of all, it is a film where color plays an important role. It makes me think about how color can play into a thought process. The psychology behind it allows for even more thinking when designing. Thank you Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Meanwhile, the youngest at home has also done some exploration regarding color and even developed his own keyboard with colors as a base. By by letters. Welcome colors. Tough guy. The salmon that De Morgen is talking about is not swimming somewhere in 1 or other Norwegian river, but just walking around at my place.

In 1998 we no longer have to say BRTN, but VRT and we are no longer allowed to smoke in all bars and restaurants in California. The Belgian cyclo-cross riders experience an unprecedented success at the world championships in Denmark. Mario De Clercq wins the title in the elite cyclists ahead of Erwin Vervecken. Sven Nys becomes world champion in the underpoles ahead of Bart Wellens. Also that year, the Spaceshuttle Discovery is launched with 77-year-old John Glenn on board, making the latter at that time the oldest person ever in space. Volkswagen also comes out with the new Beetle that year. No idea, to this day, what the front and rear is.

No sir

In 2001, I shouldn't say Mr. Mortier, it's Guy. During this period I get to indulge myself creatively in the magazine world and work has become a little bit rock 'n' roll. No 9 to 5 job, but above all a lot of respect for the work we did and the way we did it. On 9/11 this is all confirmed. That day people used airplanes for a totally different reason that they were intended and the world shook to its foundations. What was first supposed to be a cessna plane that hit a tower turned out to be boeings. American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 drilled into the towers. The rest is history. But on that day and in the days that followed, I was introduced to a very close and strong team that in deepest serenity put together perhaps the most beautiful issue of HUMO ever. The cover with the rose was the result of that. And for me it was clear. You strengthen a brand from within. Your own people as ambassadors. Employer branding will later play an important role in my own career path.

That year, Muze also appeared on the 25th edition of StuBru's De Afrekening with New Born. A discovery. And 1 of the songs in my top 10, to date. Apple will also open its first 2 retail store that year in McLean, Virginia and Glendale, California. And sometime between 1998 and 2011 we seal our love with something they call marriage and "produce" 2 beauties.

10,000 hours rule

The 10,000-hour rule comes from Professor Anders Ericsson's research. He did research on whether people are born with talent or whether everyone has a chance to rise to the (world) top. What he found out was that the chess players, musicians and athletes who had put in the most hours were often also seen as the greatest talents. Talent is bound to play a role, but so does hard work. The oldest at home, and also one of my inspirations, is living proof of this. After 10 years of playing soccer a hard training there are 1000 goals on his counter and he has developed his own style. For me the Zlatan of Zepperen. And we can really say "Ronaldo who?" :-).
But what is important is working hard with the right focus. Going for what you believe in. In the year 2011, when the elder scores his first goal, a Coca Cola facebook page created by a fan reaches 22 million followers. Social media is here to stay and will play an important role.

Growing anno 2022

We are 2022 by now, so now. And still growing is key for me. Learning, re-learning and reinventing yourself. Hence the conscious choice for Digitong. Growing, growing with me and going the extra mile every day in a team full of experts. Each in their own field. With the same mindset. Toppers, sincere. Whether it's let's talk digital, branding or development. We are there. Together, we make sure the client's needs are met. Period. By the middle of 2022, we are in the post-Corona period and face quite a few challenges besides the stupid, and especially stupid, war for energy. But in the wise words of the eternal No. 14, "Every disadvantage has its advantage." We are here now, we will be here tomorrow AND much further.


Armed with the right people, the right skills & drive and the right solutions. Bring it on.

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