Wim Crouwel – A Graphic Odyssey

28 Apr 2011

The London Design Museum is currently showing the UK's first retrospective of Dutch designer Wim Crouwel. The exhibition is called "Wim Crouwel – A Graphic Odyssey". An exhibition showcasing posters, print, typography, and exhibition design from his rich 60 year design career.

Some examples of Wim Crouwel's work

Wim Crouwel is recognized for his love of grids and typographic systems to create dynamic, experimental work. In 1963, he was one of the founders of the design studio Total Design (currently named Total Identity). From 1964 onwards, Crouwel was responsible for the design of the posters, catalogues and exhibitions of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In 1967 he designed the typeface New Alphabet, a design that embraces the limitations of the Cathode Ray Tube technology (and the early screens that made use of it) and thus only contains horizontal and vertical strokes. Other typefaces from his hand are Fodor and Gridnik. On the London Design Museum site they describe Wim Crouwel as follows:

Regarded as one of the leading designers of the twentieth century, Crouwel embraced a new modernity to produce typographic designs that captured the essence of the emerging computer and space age of the early 1960s. Spanning over 60 years, this exhibition covers Crouwel’s rigorous design approach and key moments in his career including his work for design practice Total Design, the identity for the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, as well as his iconic poster, print, typography and lesser known exhibition design. The exhibition will explore Crouwel’s innovative use of grid-based layouts and typographic systems to produce consistently striking asymmetric visuals.

Some examples of Wim Crouwel's work

Dezeen interviewed Dutch graphic designer Wim Crouwel on the eve of the opening of the exhibition "Wim Crouwel – A Graphic Odyssey" at the Design Museum in London. In the first movie, which was filmed at the Andaz Hotel in London, Crouwel talks about the exhibition as well as wallpaper and a rug based on his typographic designs that feature in a room at the hotel.

In this second movie, Wim Crouwel talks in more depth about stages of his career.

In 1970 he designed the Dutch pavilion for Expo '70 (Osaka, Japan). A design of Crouwel that is well known in The Netherlands is that of the Number Postage Stamps for the Dutch PTT (in circulation from 1976–2002). In the years Crouwel was working for Total Design, he designed many geometric word marks, one of which is the word mark for the Rabobank, designed in 1973.

Source: Wikipedia

Some examples of Wim Crouwel's work

"Wim Crouwel – A Graphic Odyssey" runs until 3 July 2011 in the London Design Museum. A set of 5 limited edition 'C' prints designed exclusively for the Design Museum by Spin are available here throughout the exhibition. One of the C's is the one you see on the second image row of the second image in this article. More of Wim Crouwel's work can be seen at a site called "Het Geheugen van Nederland". There is an excellent catalogue that celebrates the work of this design legend too.


  1. 1 Tom 29 Apr 2011

    Leuk Veerle dat je dit laat zien, prachtig werk! Ik heb er nog 9 jaar gewerkt, toen nog Total Design.