Modernism: in print

Dutch Graphic Design 1917–2017

Written by Craig Berry
Former Junior Designer at VBAT | Superunion

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Modernism in Print Exhibition Identity
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El Lissitzky: Djla Golosa. Theo van Doesburg: Wat is Dada?. 8vo: Friso Kramer industrieel ontwerper. Experimental Jetset: The ABC of Materialistic Dialetics
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Deberny & Peignot/Adrian Frutiger: Univers 21 variations sur un theme unique (1964)

The design is so quintessentially Sandberg by the fonts used which were used across many of his Stedelijk posters and publications due to a lack of available fonts, the simple yet effective use of just red and blue on white makes it clear and clean and as Sandberg said himself: “red has to be in every poster.”

It also follows his own rule in that “a poster has to provoke a closer look, otherwise it doesn’t endure.” Which is does, you can’t glance at this poster and understand it straight away, the typography draws you in and you can’t help but follow it downwards, picking up the information as you go.

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Modernism in Print: In Context
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New Typography & Typo-Photo
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Piet Zwart: Reclame, Rotterdam (1931). Paul Schuitema: De 8 en Opbouw (1936). Gerard Kiljan: Rijks-serietoestellen (1932)
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Total Design/Ben Bos: Randstad Design Manual (1972)
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Total Design/Ben Bos: Randstad Ephemera
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Dick Bruna: Nijntje (1955). Benno Wissing: 4 gaten in de grond (1961). Karel Martens: Over de menselijke waardigheid (1968)

It is impossible for any one person to know every single graphic designer over history and if you were to know them all and their work then you would never be able to learn new things like this.

A lot of work displayed was by Dick Elffers which reminded me a little bit of British design in its layout and order as well as the way type is treated alongside image. Specifically here I am talking about the Philips ‘Waar ook’ brochure. The duo-tone imagery with overlaid type and body copy. Also the use of cutout photographs in a collage effect. It reminds me a lot of a project me and my collaborative partner did at university. A collaborative book for the PTT ‘Het boek van PTT’ with Piet Zwart was also pretty special, again using collage and photo montage with illustrations and sketches.

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Dick Elffers & Piet Zwar: Het boek van PTT (1938)
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Will van Sambeek: Mario Sironi Van Abbemuseum (1964)
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Will van Sambeek: Scandinavische Woonkultuur in de Bijenkort (1968). Kunsenaars uit Brabant (1964). Jan van Eijk (1964)
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Experimental Jetset: Whitney Museum Identity (2013)
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Experimental Jetset: Statement and counter-statement: notes of Experimental Jetset (2015/2017)
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Hansje van Halem: In Patterns space
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Hansje van Halem: Typography Work
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Hansje van Halem: Lowlands Festival Identity (2017)

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