Updated Source Collection Von Wersin's Kitchen
Dick Elffers (1910-1990) was one of the most important Dutch designers, known for the yearly poster for the Holland Festival (from 1954-1967). Although his work is dominated by figurative expressionism this Holland Festival Program brochure from 1954 (collection NAGO (UVA Bijzondere Collecties)) shows a simple sequence of basic lines. Elffers was able to show his artistry in his assignments, knowing that in this situation his artistic skills could not fully bloom: ‘free art is a laboratory for the applied’.
Typically a Dutch Modernist, Karel Martens does not seem to care about ‘glamor’, but wants to get the best out of simple, honest techniques and materials. On the other hand, Martens silently became one of the most decorative graphic designers around, working in an ornamental print proof style: this pattern with a discontinuous polarity between a basic unit and its environment reproduced in the publication Counterprint (collection The Palace of Typographic Masonry) is made by metal rings of various sizes and a rabge of colours on the printing press.
According to Mieke Gerritzen, repetition has an enchanting power. For the design of the television station Nederland 3 (collection Beeld en Geluid), she used the broadcasting logos. Thinking they were all ugly, but when repeated, they turn into moving wallpaper. The power lies in the multiplication and the rhythm. The logos scroll across the image in a basic alternating sequence of lines, they fold out, turn and push to woo the viewer. The logo of the chosen broadcaster, with the accompanying tune, jumps to the front in a pregnant way: ‘Tonight VPRO, VARA, RVU or NPS’.
Although printed tiles already existed, the specific glazing properties Gilles de Brock (1988) had in mind disappeared during the manufacturing process. So De Brock built his own AirBrush Computer machine and studied the composition and behavior of glazes. De Brock can now print tiles exactly as he intended. At first, they appear to be handmade, but upon closer inspection they are far too perfectly formed for that to be possible. Here’s an example (collection The Palace of Typographic Masonry) of a cobalt and white basic alternating sequence of counterchange patches.
The tendency, urge to create order, to discover patterns in clouds, waves, mountain ranges and landscapes is a primal, primal human. Within a grid, making use of a variety of (riso) colors and basic distribution, Sigrid Calon ultimately makes completely personal and intuitive choices that lead to an inexhaustible range of possibilities. From simple linear crossing lines on prints like these (collection The Palace of Typographic Masonry) to embroidery inspired installations.
“In my opinion the essence of design is to reveal this interactive relationship between nature and our self from a totally innovative viewpoint or location; in other words, to exhibit a form that conveys surprise… The universe, man, nature, life—everything blends and reverberates”. Japanese graphic designer Mitsuo Katsui created this poster for the Toinsho prize (collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) using a discontinuous polarity by the crossing of reletively basic forms. Katsui’s abstract designs often focus around vibrant pops of color and shape, creating a coherent and strong visual language.
Early in his career Jac. Jongert (1883-1942) was an active member of the Dutch social democratic party and this engagement was also visible in his artwork. He wanted to reach an audience as large as possible: he liked his art to be closer to the ordinary people’s interest. In the early 1920’s he got hired to design products for Van Nelle (coffee, tea and cigarettes). Influenced by the wishes of the commercial environment, his artwork became more simple but nevertheless kept its ornamental character. This package design for ‘Meel Leguminosen’ of B. van der Sluys from 1919 (collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) uses more simple sequences of lines of enriched elements in its composition.
During the event ‘Kunst op kamers’ in De Rijp, art is shown in private houses. This book designed by Irma Boom (UVA Special Collections collection) stands out because of its finish, a slipcase design that refers to the character of the event: peeking in on others. The case has a pattern of punched circles in a unanimously spotted polarity. This pattern recurs in other parts of the design such as the coloured dots that represent the different addresses like a switchboard.
Jurriaan Schrofer (1926-1990) was one of the graphic designers who strongly defined the profession after the war. Since the 1970s, he has been making idiosyncratic work, letter fields that run from lean to bold, from open to closed. Made with ruthless patience, hanging somewhere between M.C. Escher and Arabic ornamentation. For the covers of ‘Les Textes Sociologiques’ (NAGO collection, UVA Special Collections), he coloured variants of a drawn letter image, here in a varied succession of enriched elements.
In this watercolor sketch for the cover of a brochure entitled ‘Introductie’ (Introduction) for the Cental Social Employers Federation from 1955 (NAGO collection, UVA Special Collections) Jurriaan Schrofer uses an unanimous (although the colors change) series of contrasting arrows.
In the early 1960s, the Total Design agency was approached to design all the printed matter for the De Bijenkorf (The Beehive) department store. Ben Bos was responsible for the consistent application of the design, which was nevertheless diverse. From leaflets, brochures and posters to gift vouchers, signposting and façade lettering, from mailings and magazines for personnel and business relations to labels for the company brands: everywhere, the Bijenkorf was recognisable. Bos also designed the carrier bags (collection NAGO) with a criss-crossed pattern of strips forming a grid or weave referring to honeycombs.
The soullessness of the euro banknotes is distressing in comparison with the magical bank paper - without dutiful monuments or sternly looking hot-headed people - of Jaap Drupsteen (1942). Between 1987 and 1999, he designed three banknotes with a cheerful amalgam of colour fields and abstract figures that represented the Netherlands as a progressive and independent country with a ditto design culture. On the 1000 guilder note (de Kieviet), the background consists of a woven pattern of enriched elements.
Klederdracht is the traditional clothing worn in Dutch communities by a large part of the population. There are still a number of villages and regions in the Netherlands where traditional costume is rarely worn, generally only by older women. In Marken and Volendam the women wear a flannel jacket with striped sleeves. This fabric (collection The Palace of Typographic Masonry) is made in a simple sequence of a combination of various elements.
Jolijn van de Wouw began studying graphic design at the Royal Academy of Art and Design in Den Bosch in 1959. She worked at Total Design from 1968 to 1988 and then started her own agency. Her work is characterised by its austere simplicity, as can be seen in this cover of the GTI house style manual from 1991 (NAGO collection), decorated with a polyphonic simple sequence.
Maureen Mooren is a graphic designer based in Amsterdam, graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in 1996 and collaborated with Daniel van der Velden until 2007 on a variety of projects, mainly in the cultural field, amongst which the Holland Festival. The 2009 poster series (collection The Palace of Typographic Masonry) uses a polyphonic row of contrasting elements, weaving two images into each other.
A field of polyphonic contrasting elements form the pattern of this design by Hansje van Halem, used in a publication to celebrate Koppermaandag (collection The Palace of Typographic Masonry). Printers and publishers often send a print to ring in the new year, a tradition that dates back to the time of the guilds. Koppermaandag is the first Monday after Epiphany (6 January). Traditionally, the guilds held a public holiday on that day.
Dutch designer and screen printer Michiel Schuurman combines a meticulous obsession with detail with bold hues and repetition to create vibrant illustrations that baffle the mind. For the installation ‘Broken Arrows’ (collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), he designed a continuous crossing, polyphonic metal arrow pattern that extends over 40 square metres.
With ‘Tramatic’ (collection The Palace of Typographic Masonry), designed for the Festival des Cultures Urbaines in Canteleu in 2012, Fanette Mellier reactivated her ‘Multipli’ project, in which the folding of a sheet of paper creates letter shapes. Here too, the structure is marked by geometric fields, polyphonic intersecting elements, coloured on the front and black on the back. Screenprinted in a coarse grid, it results in a simple excess that plays with the reading of shapes and colours, a nod to the large prints of mainstream advertising posters.
Jaap Gidding (1887 - 1955) was a Dutch decorative artist, active as a draughtsman, painter, ceramist, jewellery designer, interior designer, monumental artist, textile artist, and mosaicist. He is mainly known for his design for the interior of the impressive foyer of the Tuschinski Theatre in Amsterdam, but has produced a multifaceted oeuvre, including many posters and printed matter. This poster for the Exhibition of Interior Art from 1919 (collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) is decorated with floral motifs in simple rows with intervals.
Kaumasa Nagai’s early work was based on rigorous geometry and optical perception but changed more a symbolic and figurative approach. In 1960 he launched the Nippon Design Center (NDC), which is a leading organization aiming to improve Japanese graphic design through major company collaborations. The poster ‘Artists Paint Toyama -100 Landscapes by 100 Artists’ from 1989 (collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) uses a simple sequence of golden stars on a black field.
Swip Stolk dropped out of graphic school and Gerrit Rietveld Academy’s evening class, for he didn’t want to have anything to do with conventions and he couldn’t stand the academic character of the studies. As a self-taught designer whose learning process never ended, he based his strength on freedom, creating works that intrigue, provocate and irritate. Often inventive decorative elements play an important role, just like the use of fluorescent colors: this invitation for a presentation of ‘Terlenka overgordijnen’ (collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) uses an alternating sequence of wavy lines of stylised flower motifs.
Carel Adolph Lion Cachet was a Dutch designer, printmaker and ceramist, known for his role in transforming of Dutch decorative arts in the early 20th century. He introduced a completely new visual language of forms, font styles and patterns. One of the things he introduced was the batik technique from Indonesia that he experimented with. His style was almost un-Dutch because of his preference for labour-intensive techniques and luxurious materials. This ‘Catalogus der tentoonstelling van portretten en voorwerpen’ consists of a discontinuous counterchange with natural forms (collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam).
With Kelmscott Press William Morris sought to raise the quality of book design and printing and tried to equal the standards of 15th-century printers. He bought an Albion handpress and designed three different typefaces, including the Golden Type, which was inspired by the roman type of the 15th-century Venetian printer Nicolas Jenson. Morris also designed the initials and the border decorations for his books, like the crossing of wavy lines in ‘Ballads and narrative poems’ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (collection The National Library , permanent loan Museum Meermanno).
Dutch typographer and type designer Bram de Does has conducted 30 year long, sketch based, research into the seemingly endless combinations of patterns, ornaments, and borders. De Does designed a single abstract asymmetric form ‘Kaba’ (Arabic for cube) which allow building complex structures like this polyphonic closslinked pattern which is included in the maginificent book ‘Bram De Does: Kaba Ornament’ (collection The Palace of Typographic Masonry).