Thursday, September 15, 2011
The stamps Wim Crouwel designed for the Dutch postal service PTT were used for 25 years. The first thing that came to my mind after hearing this was the amount of tongues that must have licked these stamps. 25 years is a long time. Millions of letters were decorated by this sophisticated square. Figuratively speaking, it was the key to another persons mailbox.
When we look at the stamps we see a clear design, a distinct communication speaks from it. Stripped of any adornment it is a severe design to me. Extremely functional. Exactly what Crouwel was aiming for. Everything that cited emotion was left out. Functionality above all. It seems very contradictory to me that a design so rational was used for such an emotional communication process. I find this contrast very interesting. On the one hand there is Crouwel, driven by a concise aesthetic, succeeding in his job. On the other hand there are the sober Dutch people, whose eyes have looked at these stamps more than a billion times, yet most of them have not seen the aesthetic essence of it.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Deformed letters and symbols when you look through the glass
Another object that fascinates me is a lamp.
Today I came to realize that they actually are brother and sister.
Two elements: Shiny transparent fragile glass - vs - Strong non transparent cap/top
Symmetry - yrtemmyS
As less as possible. Form follows function. No extra’s.
Product Follows Form
No extra's: Lamp and switch are now one
Reflections are now replaced by light
Logical symmetrical system
(Eventually) two elements: Plastic and Glass
Or four? Lamp and Switch included
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
As I let my fingers caress the spines for a second time, I cannot simply let my personal preferences surface. Instead I let my fingers stop at big books, interesting letters, big old tomes and backs with interesting colors. With the latter in mind I pull out a thin yet big book out of the shelf. A smooth, new spine, with bright yellow letters on a background of bright red, turning to pink. How could it not attract my attention? ‘China now’ is the title and the front immediately makes my decision easy; naked Asians running through a hallway accompanied by red airplanes. How can one resist opening such a book?
The art of a people, suppressed and unable to produce art freely until recently, is fascinating. Different mentality, history and culture make their art unlike any western art in my opinion. And it is refreshing to see modern art from such a different angle. It is nice that not only the cover has beautiful contrasts, but also our cultures and countries. (me being Dutch)
Satisfied I carry the book to the check out desk, to take it home and immerse myself in another world and go back to the busy and colorful markets of Beijing and Chengdu.
CHINA NOW 707.9
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Not one, but two books this time. I know that the assignment was to take one, but these two belong to each other. One is called “De geschiedenis van de schoonheid” (The history of beauty) the other one is called “ De geschiedenis van de lelijkheid” (The history of ugliness.) I took them because the contrast between those two seemed to be interesting to me. They also look really nice because they are really intended to be together. The really look like a couple. They are both the same size, same thickness, made of the same material, have the same typography and layout. Absolute contrast but still the same in some way. I also looked inside and it is funny that each book on itself is less interesting if you cannot compare it to the other one. They really need each other. And of course there is the old question “what is beauty and what is ugliness?”
700.6-eco-1 and 700.6-eco-2
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Browsing books is my favorite thing in the world. But I am not looking for an interesting read, not this time. I try to let my sub consciousness guide me. Walking past a row of books at the end I stop, touch the spine of a big tome, glaringly yellow, black border, interesting typography. My touch reveals a strange texture of the yellow paper. Or fabric maybe? The sticker on the back annoys me, how dare it break the yellow/black/angular balance of the back?
I slide the book out of it’s resting place and take a peek at the front. The same typography as the front, the same thin black letters on yellow. This time I can feel that the letters were pressed on the yellow. Hard. They appear to lie just below the surface. Intrigued I slide the book out altogether and wake up out of my book trance only to realize I am holding my choice in my hands.