Currently showing at the Design Museum, A Graphic Odyssey celebrates the prolific career of Netherlands-based graphic designer and typographer Wim Crouwel. An active member of the Dutch graphic design scene since the 1950s, Crouwel is regarded as one of the leading designers of the twentieth century, embracing a new modernity to produce typographic designs that captured the essence of the emerging computer and space age of the early 1960s.
Together with colleagues Benno Wissing, Friso Kramer and brothers Dick & Paul Schwartz, Crouwel started Total Design, the studio behind the visual identity for the Amsterdam-based Stedelijk Museum. During the twenty year relationship with the museum, Crouwel designed catalogues, posters and brochures, in the process developing his cool, pragmatic style.
In addition to his print work the designer is famous for his New Alphabet (1967) type design. Made to the limitations of the new technology which struggled with digitising type and did not work over the curved edges, the font used only vertical and horizontal lines and was designed using a monospace grid with every letter the same width and height. As part of the exhibition the Design Museum has commissioned the Crouwelclock, a beautifully animated graphic alarm clock inspired by his type design (although not actually very effective as an alarm clock).
A Graphic Odyssey is his first UK retrospective, and is a fascinating exploration of Crouwel’s work and his continuous influence on contemporary graphic design.
A Graphic Odyssey runs until 3rd July 2011.