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"Wim Crouwel" Tag


Body Type


Monday, December 9, 2013

The subject I write about is a design, which is presented in the book of Anthon Beeke ”Body Type”, despite on this fact I would like to start with a small history part, following by highlighting key points of the book or would I rather say box

Let’s go back to the sixties.Wim Crouwel, who was born in 1928, is a graphic designer, who was influenced by digital developments of that time, saw an opportunity for an interesting experiment. Early computer screens rendered images in fairly large pixels, making traditional curvilinear letterforms difficult to reconstruct, and so Crouwel set out to redesign the alphabet using only horizontal lines. The ‘New Alphabet’ was published in 1967 in Kwadraat-Bladen: A series of graphic experiments (1955-1974).

 

Animation

 

One other key figure of Dutch graphic design is Anthon Beeke (1940), who found his inspiration in the spirit of 60′s, a spirit of freedom which relates to politics and besides refers to the topic of feminism. In 1969 he created an othe Kwadraat -Blad ”Beautiful girls Alphabet”, in which you can also notice presence of ideas of feminism. This publication is based on type, which is spelled with the bodies of naked women. ”Beautiful girls” was published in 1969 (it’s two years later then ”New Alphabet”) in the same series as an answer to the one of Wim Crouwel

 

Animation-1

 

Considering these two famous and important publications, (because nobody did something similar before) you can see two opposite approaches in design modernist/functional by Wim Crouwel and content based by Anthon Beeke.

Now I can boldly return to the book.

Box-side_redu

 

The ”Body Type” was published in August 2011 and despite that fact (in the past they have been opposites) for this publication they worked together. Two completely different, I can say loud events of Dutch graphic design, have merged into a single edition. Just like ”Beautiful girls” in the past this book is based on an alphabet with naked bodies but all text of the book is written in New Alphabet by Wim Crouwel. Also one more graphic designer Rene Knip (1963) is included in the work and designed the looks of the publication. With this I mean a book-box, which I will try to describe in details.

guukop

The box follows the tendency of square form (the tendency of Kwadraat-Bladen), front edges are white with a representation of the type ( B O D Y – T Y P E ) and lateral edges are in red with golden text in Crouwels New Alphabet. Inside this colorful box I found one more simple black interior box ,which separates a cover-box with a content of the book with the same color palette and, in my opinion, with the black line this construction attracts much more attention to itself. Besides, opening a box, I’ve noticed a red silk tape, which helps to remove the book from the box easily.

The content of the book is separated in three parts.In the first part you can find an introduction, which was written by Wim Crouwel and a text with images that is related to the publication, to the past and to the roots of the alphabets of both Crouwel and Beeke.

Baas in buik-

Crouwwel-sketches_redu

Flipping through the pages of the first part of a book you can find other examples of typography with images of another famous Dutch typographer and museum curator Sandberg (1897–1984)

Sandberg_Nu_redu

 

”Body Type” combined in itself works/ styles /approaches of 3 different famous Dutch graphic designers of 3 different generations,in other words this book contains an experience of key figures of graphic design. That is why this publication is not only a book but more like a monument.

The second part of “Body Type” is the alphabet itself. All letters, number of the Latin alphabet are separated from each other. Every single letter placed on a single square paper sheet on a white background. Everything is printed on a quality and a bit glossy paper. In contrast to “Beautiful girls” letters of the alphabet are spelled from not only naked women but naked black black men as well adding a new controversy. By virtue of choice of color and paper this publication looks fresh, interesting and makes us curious to explore its content.

home_bodytype_L_04 Beeke-BodyType-M

In the third part you can find a set of letters and punctuation marks, so you can tear them out and string them up to bring this alphabet to life in words and texts. There are four similar letters/punctuation marks placed on each page so you can cut it, one from another, using a dotted perforated line.

aqHZHwiuH3c

 

In the end I would like to add a couple of words about the name of the book.
To be honest, I was looking through a list in a library and the name “Body Type” was the first, which I paid attention too. I was trying to look for it more then 30 minutes, but I couldn’t find it. Then I tried to find another book but this name was in my mind and kept me interested. Finally the librarian of Rietveld Library told me that this book is special and it is located in a safe place and I remember that I though “I have made such a lucky choice”. I was thinking how to name the post and I have decided to save the original name.

Wim da Vinci


Monday, November 14, 2011

This is a cover design for a brochure of the Teleac, made by Wim Crouwel. It remembers me of when I was a kid and I saw for the very first time an Italian 1 euro coin. On the coin you see the Vitruvian man, made by Leonardo da Vinci in 1487. It shows de measurements of the human body, so he found out for example that the length of the outspread arms is equal to the height of a man, and that the length of the hand is one-tenth of the height of a man. The drawing itself is often used as a symbol of the essential symmetry of the human body. The drawing is based on the ideal proportions of the human body. The drawing was inspired by Vitruvius, who was an ancient Roman architect. He described the human figure as the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture.

It might be too much honor to Wim Crouwel for comparing him to Leonardo da Vinci, but I think that both of them have a certain accuracy and precise. Wim Crouwel worked with grids. He used them as a tool so that the drawing was in correct ratio and perfect proportions. If you look at the drawing of Wim Crouwel you could see the same; from one point of view you can always see a circle in the middle of the square. I think the drawing fits the meaning of the brochure perfect. I like this drawing because it’s so geometric, It looks architectural, industrial and above all very modern.

Sub:stance


Sunday, September 18, 2011

one of the most enjoyable jobs for a graphic designer into music is certanly the making of record sleeves. capture and synthetize the music and concept of the record in just one final visual/phisical product. after the record sleeve is set, both music and image are intertwined , giving one to the other a new shape , or, in the best case, exalting one another meanings and get to a new more complete concept-idea … usually is a personal overview /interpretation of the designer , but as well a clear and graphical unharmful attempt to translate/tale/interpretate the music work into “image”.
Never like in this case i found myself stunned-staring at the semplicity of the cover of Joy Division’s first official compilation album (released after 8 years from Ian Curtis’ death) while wondering about at this massive retrospective of one of the masters of dutch graphic design Wim Crouwel . The cover features the band name written in his original white font above the album title elsewritten using the New Alphabet typeface ( created by Crouwel in 1967 ) in neon green over a dead black background covering the rest of the sleeve… this indeed sounds pretty much like the music of joy division itself : dark, personal, experimental, progressive,  jagged and sometimes difficult to “read” …

New & Newer Alphabets.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My research is about a Czech graphic designer named Radim Pesko who, along with contributing to various magazines, is running an Amsterdam based type-foundry (RP; a digital type-foundry established by himself in 2009). Occasionally he does curatorial practise and teaches in the graphic design department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam.
In this text, I will focus on a collaboration Pesko did along with French graphic designer colleague Karl Nawrot in 2010 and compare it to Wim Crouwel’s “New Alphabet” from 1967.

Pesko and Nawrot made a family of four rather unique and aesthetically compelling type-faces; The Lÿon Family. This family is named up after Nawrot’s hometown Lyon, and the designer himself claims that the umlauts in his and Pesko’s ÿ were added to make it appear more personal and playful. The Lÿon font family was introduced to the public as a booklet supplement called “Newer Alphabets” to the “Typefaces Issue” of GRAPHIC (16th edition); a design magazine created by another colleague and friend of theirs, S-Korean Na Kim.

At the launch of Na Kim’s 17th edition of GRAPHIC (“When Design Becomes Attitudes”), both Pesko and Nawrot were there in person to have a talk about their collaboration on the Lÿon project. Lucky for me, since I happened to be in the audience.

I must mention that prior to this, I had made an attempt to interview Pesko via e-mail, but I found the talk at the magazine launch to be more fruitful for my research; basically all my questions were answered without me even having to ask them. The (funny and to some extent rivaling) dynamic between the two collaborators was also obviously easier to catch, and it helped me develop a more wholesome image of both their process and final outcome. But first a little more about the members of the Lÿon family; the Lÿon’s are Jean (after artist Jean Arp), Stan (after director and photographer Stanley Kubrick), Ulys (after Franco-Japanese animation series Ulysses 31) and Walt (after founder of Disney Pictures Walt Disney).

These brother type-faces are creatively based on a feeling or the essence of the characters they’ve been named after, as well as the fact that they have formal approaches to their subject qualities. This is also stated shortly by James Langdon in the “Newer Aphabet” booklet “…they are open and various and their spirit is this: to resist normative tendencies and to reject the idea of definitive form”, but as the booklet basically focuses on presenting the different family members and suggests various juxtapositions of their letters, it was quite helpful to hear the designers explain their work furthermore. Amongst other details, they mentioned how the different “Lÿon brothers” are created with the intention of being able to mix with each other; a feature I personally appreciate a lot because it encourages their potential users to be creative and exploring by being allowed to play around with them.

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Turned to the grid


Monday, March 7, 2011

#####Turned to the grid#####

(Wim Crouwel)

When walking through the main entrance of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam towards the coatroom one quickly notices the array of poster prints papered to the subwalls of the main stairs to the second level. These prints are from past exhibitions and many are made by the functionalist designer Wim Crouwel. When Willem Sandberg (director of the SM and did most graphic work) retired in 1962 Crouwel took the job and designed many from ’64 until 1984.


Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Wim Crouwel Shapes of Colour exhibition
c Jean Pierre Jans Photography poster 1966, Contemporary Art museum poster 1971

Mondriaan or Miro 1958 (Letterpress), Vormgevers in SM, Hiroshima 1957

Wim Crouwel (Groningen, 1928) studied Visual Arts at the Academie Minerva in Groningen from 1946 until 1949. There he became acquainted with ‘The Ploeg’ artist collective that was established in 1918. His father was a block maker and perhaps this made the transition towards typeface design very logical. He Continued as an abstract painter with the ‘Creatie’ (Creation group) he joined the Amsterdam School of Art and Design evening courses and the Liga Nieuw Beelden (1954, co-created the Manifesto in 1955). The Liga was a group of urban designers making demonstrative exhibitions.

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FunctionalVsEngagé


Thursday, May 28, 2009

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

BeekeVsCrouwel


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The most intriguing aspect of  ’100 years graphic design in the Netherlands’, out of all the graphics, fonts, posters and publications I saw there, was in my opinion the contrast between two different forms of an Alphabet.
These alphabets, or better Font types, were created by the dutch Graphic Designers Wim Crouwel and Anthon Beeke.
The computerlike and clean structure of Crouwel’s ‘New Alphabet’ and the unconventional and quite controversial looking letter type, made out from naked girls, of Beeke on the other side.
For me Beeke’s style visualizes the spirit of the time when this font was created. It let me think of the sexual revolution, the feministic movement and a general break out of traditional and conventional norms of these times.
But also Crouwel, with his mathmatical looking font, hits for me a certain actuality of the late 60ties and 70ties, as that was the begin of the development of the computer age.

Wim Crouwel vs Anton Beeke

for more on functional versus engagé, read part 2

unique versus serial


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Starting of a new academical year of design theory and research with an investigation theme like Unique versus Serial could not have been better. Chosing from a wide variety of design objects exhibited in “Limited/Unlimited, 100 years of Dutch design presented us with the unique opportunity to get an inside in the position of the designer during the last 100 years in the Netherlands. A characteristic of Dutch design is the coexistence of these unique objects alongside serial production, concept alongside industrial reproduction. “Goed in vorm“, 100 years of design in the Netherlands: by Mienke Simon Thomas (curator of decorative art and design at the Boymans Van Beuningen Rotterdam) was acquired by the library and provide us with a lot of interesting background insight.
The question was simple. Choose an object and find out what the position of the designer was in relation to our theme Unique versus Serial .

research: Samuel Schellink /vaas: Jan van der Vaart /research: Corné Gabriels

All those choices resulted in a colourful collection of investigations into the object’s background and the motives of their creators. Available in downloadedable pdf the students present: “Martin Visser, designer or collector“, “Starting with Anton Kurver’s Mailbox“, “Bruno Ninhaber, Stay Limited To Be Unlimited“, “Wim Gilles Dru Kettle“, “Wim Crouwel The Objective Functionalist“, “Adolf Le Comte, A Unique Mocca Set“, “Corné Gabriels, Not Your Average Fashion“, “Marcel Wanders, Knotted Design“, “Jacob Jongert, An Artistic Individualist“, “Limited-Unlimited, The Haque Plateel/Rozenburg“, “Jurgen Bey, A Narritive Structure“, “Jan van der Vaart, A Vase Is For Flowers“.

At the same time VIVID design galery presented a show of “Art Design“. A new phenomena that underlined the intriguing autonomous position of Dutch designers and design, making an on the spot discussion posible about art and design, commercial versus cultural or concept and functionalism. linked article Herald Tribune: Whatever ‘design-art’ is, it’s thriving ©2008

Objectiefied Bits


Friday, January 30, 2009

Maybe you find it puzzling that this posting about Helvetica and Wim Crouwel starts with an image of Paul Elliman’s “Bits” Alphabet.

Extremes can sometimes meet when you least expect it, and this fascinates me. It became apparent again during the investigation by the FoundationYear C group, into Gary Hustwitt’s Movie “Helvetica” and our consequently visit to the Wim Crouwel exhibit last month at the “van Abbemuseum”.

left: Bits by Paul Elliman, right: Objectified by Build (click images for blog info)

“Bits” was developed by Paul Elliman in the mid 90ties and published in the 15th (Cities) issue of Fuse’s conceptual Font Box. quote: “Language moves between us and the world on patterns of repetition and variation, and a mimetic example of this might be something like an alphabet”
Later, in 2004, it was included in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial N.Y. which made “concept type” part of the established design world.

Gary Hustwitt’s new documentary “Objectified” takes design, and as a matter of fact “Bits” too, one step further by making it popular in the same way as he did with “Helvetica”.

Modernist thinking, or even constructivist-, lays at the base of the “Helvetica” concept and the work of Wim Crouwel, as this first movie on typography has him stated. As a true Dutch graphic design icon Wim Crouwel illustrated this through work, presented at the library exhibition of the van Abbemuseum, celebrating his 70th birthday. A small but beautiful display of catalogues and posters made for both this and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.


pages by Crouwel versus pages by Jan van Toorn from publication “Het Debat”

Extremes met in person when Crouwel and Jan van Toorn celebrated their life long controversy with a recurrence of their famous 1970 debate. Functionalism versus engagement. Jan van Toorn succeeded Crouwel as a designer at this museum under the directorate of Jean Leering to manifest in an inspiring cooperation what that leads to in terms of exhibition concepts and graphic design (“Museum in Motion” at the library). Jean Leering also closely work together with Jan Slothouber (read part 1 of C group’s research) at the TU-Delft where the published several internal essay’s on the philosophical and social consequences of design.


80/20/100 © Nijhof&Lee booksellers – Laurenz Brunner, final exam poster

More research was conducted to explore related content or work approach of other designers like, Laurenz Brunner’s “Akkurat”, his successful contemporary remake of Helvetica, Experimental Jetset convicted users of Helvetica, the cooperation “8020100″ between Vivid Gallery in Rotterdam and Nijhof&Lee Bookstore in Amsterdam. Context was created by turning the focus on Adriaan Frutiger, designer of Helvetica’s conscientious alternative “Univers”. To further explore the relation to language and image we further focused our investigating efforts on the visual legacy of Charles & Ray Eames, the “El Hema” exhibition/store and Massin‘s timeless publication “Letter and Image“.

With the inclusion of Belgian artist Guy Rombouts the full circle of our focus on type design was completed. The investigation into his visual language concept “AZart” will be presented soon in a separated part 3 C_group posting. This was part II of the C_group research
All researches linked in this posting can be downloaded in A4 format and are also available as hard copy research prints at the ResearchFolders available at the academy library

A group’s researched book-concepts


Monday, March 10, 2008

TM-City SMCS Warhol_Index TM-City SMCS

After many month we finally present the research results into 25 selected books from the “Collections Groenendijk”. During a one-hour event every student was presented with the opportunity to start-up a research into the manifest art or design concepts presented in these unique book designs. Designers Julia Born and Will Holder were presented through an interview-DVD made by the graduate program of the “Werkplaats Typografie Arnhem” for the Chaumont festival workshop 2005. Others projects, by Richard Niessen or Andy Warhol, were presented at an visit to the Stedelijk CS, where their books were displayed in context. Coralie Vogelaar (a Sandberg Master) came to visit us in person to give insight in her work and ideas and lecture on the concept behind her latest publication “Masters of Rietveld: design in the 21st Century” published recently by the Sandberg Insitute /Design [above: Niessen TM-City / Warhol Index-Book

A New Art World
Caetano de Carvalho on “A New Art World” by Richard Niessen + Ad de Jong

Research material was edited down to A4 sized guided tours into these subjects. All subjects presented in this list are also available as hard copy prints at the Research Folders at the library. The investigation focussed on the following book titles: Ed van der Elsken’s “Love Story in St Germain“, Irma Boom’s Grafisch Nederland 2005 on Color, “Start A New Art World”(published above), the acclaimed cooperation between photographer Geert van Kesteren and designer Linda van Deursen “Why Mister Why“, “Hhalo” by Julia Born and Rebecca Stephany’s “Archiving Today”project. Last 3 ladies all teaching at graphic design department.

SpoerrieThe ThingThe Thing Norm design Swiss TypeS M L XL

Daniel Spoerrie “An Anecdoted Topography of Chance“(extra info), Dieter Roth’s “Dieter Roth Band 10“, “S M L XL“by Koolhaas, Sandbergs “Experimenta Typographica“: Mens Sana in Corpore Sano and “Counterprint” by Karel Martens. “The Thing” by Norm designstudio, Andy Warhols classic 1967 “Index-Book”, Will Holder’s “Catalogue“: starring Gijs Muller, Edward Ruscha’s “Colored Peolple”, Richard Niessen’s piece de résistance TM-City.

Why Mister Why GN2005:Color

Sandberg Institute Master: Coralie Vogelaar with “The Photoshop” and “De Hedendaagse Ontwerper”, Gerald van der Kaap’s original ” HoverHover” and the monumental cooperation between Jonathan Barnbrook and Damien Hirst “I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always, forever, now”.

Dot Dot Dot X Hester Permanent Food 15

Finaly some highly conceptual magazine concepts like, the 1980′s I-D magazine 2, Jop van Bennekom with Re-magazine: ‘Hester‘, Permanent Food or Stuart Bailey’s “Dot Dot Dot” magazine.


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