Dutch Profiles: Wim Crouwel

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Wim Crouwel is the grand seigneur of the Dutch design world. His typographic and graphic work is well-known all over the world.

Now, at the age of 83, he can look back on a extremely productive career:

- as a highly influential designer

- as one of the founders of Total Design, Holland's first real multi-disciplinary design studio -  a studio in which complex issues were analysed from different angles offering a totally integrated and systematic design solution

- as a professor, educating generations of students at the Technical University of Delft.

- and as a director of the renowned Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

Crouwel is especially admired for his systematic approach in which the use of grids plays a very important role in his lay-outs.

Here Wim Crouwel and the prominent design critic Max Bruinsma visit an exhibition on 100 years of poster design at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Since the beginning of his career, Wim Crouwel has been strongly influenced by the modernist notion of Functionalism. The principle that architects should design a building based on the purpose of that building.

Wim Crouwel designed posters, brochures and catalogues for 2 major art museums, first for the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven - and from 1964 to 1985 for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

When he started to work for the Stedelijk Museum he took a totally different path than his predecessor, director and designer Willem Sandberg.

In 1956 Crouwel saw the results of the first digital typesetter. They looked so bad that he designed a type face, called New Alphabet, that better suited the capacities of this machine.

In 1973 visionary Wim Crouwel - influenced by the early digital developments at the time - introduced the term Form Preparation.

Video credits

Director: Geert van de Wetering

Interviewer: Max Bruinsma

Camera: Jacko van 't Hof

Sound: Bram Meindersma

Editing: Geert van de Wetering

Colour correction: Maurik de Ridder

Music Sound Design: Pastelle Music

Commissioning editor Submarine: Geert van de Wetering

Producer Submarine: Olivia Sophie van Leeuwen

Research assist: Liselot Francken

Produced by Submarine, Femke Wolting & Bruno Felix

Commissioned by DutchDFA

1 series

  • Dutch Profiles

    Dutch Profiles is a series of short documentaries focusing on well-known icons of Dutch design, such as Rem Koolhaas, Droog, Li Edelkoort, Hella Jongerius, HEMA, and Iris van Herpen.