In my first post about two of the most important and influential dutch graphic designers, Wim Crouwel and Anthon Beeke (pdf), i tried to compare them by their different approach. Especially the way Beeke designed, really intrigued me.
It was provocating and controversial which made him one of the leading conceptual engaged designers.
On the other side, Wim Crouwel is known as a more functional designer, which means less conceptual.
But is it really that easy to divide and are all this categorizations correctly made?
Especially in the case of Wim Crouwel i doubt it. His design of the new alphabet was based on the begin of computer technology, in a time were blogs, facebook and internet in general didn’t exist. Coming up with a font type based on this new technology combines in a perfect way a clear, functional and computer like approach. Computer like is also the keyword for, in my opinion, a highly conceptual design.
With the awareness that this technology will change they way we communicate, document, the way we are. His style is timeless (even if it also relates to the early 70s) and applicable still nowadays.
Beeke’s Human alphabet, using the aesthetics (look at the swedish film makers Ingmar Bergman and Vilgot Sjöman) and social and political topics like sexuality, seems more related to that specific time.
So Aesthetics is next to conceptualism and functionalism a really important aspect, what makes Crouwel’s design less depend on a certain time period.
Never the less, Anthon Beeke’s radical and shocking way, even if it is not so applicable in our times anymore, was responsible for breaking through the conservatism of (Graphic design) and is so a mirror of other important political and social openings in this time period, and even if his aesthetics are not so up to date, his conceptual engagement is.
link: The Human Alphabet as a visual brand
link: Anton Beeke exhibit at Centre for Visual Arts Zeeland