High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Official Anarchy. Dutch Graphic Design
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Official Anarchy. Dutch Graphic Design

(Max Bruinsma) The Low Countries - 1997, № 5, pp. 155-163

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Amsterdam-based designer Shigeru Watano once remarked: ‘Analytical and rational design principles govern Dutch design.' He was right. Dutch graphic design has emerged from an essentially typographic tradition, and this analytical background has resulted in a clear and well-organised typography — a management of the page that is deeply concerned with visualising the hierarchies and the construction of texts. With this as the point of departure, very different styles are possible: the ‘classic' typographic style is a continuing, rich and living tradition in the Netherlands, but it is another style for which Dutch graphic design has been internationally recognised and applauded: a style that allows for a great variety of often rather complex images. A style that consists not only of a ‘management of information' , but is also the carrier of explicit personal interpretations and commentaries by the designer. Dutch graphic design is constantly reconciling opposites: tradition and experiment, typography and image, institutions and individuality, rules and anarchy, and ultimately, art and application, function and expression.

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