Richard van der Laken

Co-founder & Creative Director

What Design Can Do · The Netherlands

Richard van der Laken (1970), is an acclaimed Dutch graphic designer, creative director, entrepreneur, initiator and on a mission as an unlikely globetrotting ambassador for the social impact of design.


Together with Pepijn Zurburg he founded graphic design agency Designpolitie, graphic design collective Gorilla, and design platform What Design Can Do.

Since forming, they’ve worked with many partners from Rabobank to Artis Zoo, won numerous awards, and feature in the permanent collection of galleries such as the Design Museum London and MoMa New York.

At WDCD, they’ve created multiple global design challenges, publications, and events hosted across Amsterdam, Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, India, and Japan.


If Richard is not in the office, he’s probably halfway across the world, preaching the What Design Can Do story at creative conferences and art schools worldwide.


In his career Richard was honored with many awards and nominations for D&AD, Design Museum ‘Design Of The Year’, ADCN (Art Directors Club Netherlands), Dutch Design Awards, European Design Awards and more.


In 2008 a first monograph about Designpolitie’s work came out under the title ‘The ABC of TDesignpolitie’.


In 2018 ‘Gorilla for President, the 100 best visual columns on current affairs by the Gorilla Collective’ was published.