Gerritjan Deunk the man behind the design of April, Exit and iT

Those were the days! The Reguliersdwarsstraat was the heart of the Amsterdam gay scene with iconic bars like, April, Exit and Havana. And later the famous iT the ultimate place to go. Ah, yes, those days. We do remember them and the gay men that made it happen. Gerritjan Deunk was one of them.

Gerritjan was instrumental in all of this. He contributed with profesional design, wonderful magazines and of course great logo’s. Thanks to him the gay scene became more professional and more visible.

Early Years

Gerritjan was born in Winterswijk in 1951. After finishing school he started his studies (communication and design) in Enschede. He then moved from the quiet parts of the Netherlands to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam

In Amsterdam he began his professional career working for one of the first Dutch glossy magazines.n the seventies he met Guus Silverentand. They were a well known, young gay couple in Amsterdam. In 1979 Guus started Coffeeshop Downtown, the beginning of the Gay scene in the Reguliersdwarsstraat. Gerritjan was asked to design the logo and marketing material. Many new initiatives were introduced, such as the Downtown Magazine. Business wise bars like April and Exit followed, always carefully designed and positioned by Gerritjan.

By now his studio was well known and many organisations turned to him for company design, special magazines and design aspects. Thanks to Gerritjan gay business became more professional, both in their design and in their marketing.

Mid eighties he became involved in the fight against Aids. He supported the Dutch Aids Fonds by designing a website and many other activities.

Later Years

In his later life he focused on designing books and on gardening. One of his last publications is called “Het Tuinboek Nederland”, the Dutch standard for those who love gardening.
Gerritjan Deunk died on 11 February 2017 at the age of 65.