Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Wim Crouwel is an artist, designer, professor, and museum director. Trained at the Art Academy Minerva and the Amsterdam Art Academy, he began his professional life as an abstract painter before becoming a designer. His long and rich career includes...establishing a studio with the industrial designer Kho Liang Ie; becoming the first general secretary of Icograda in 1963; and cofounding Total Design, the first multi-disciplinary design studio in the Netherlands, which became a dominant force in Dutch design. Crouwel and his colleagues had significant influence on the national and cultural identity of the Netherlands; from Crouwel’s postage stamps for the Dutch Post Office to his extensive body of work for the Stedelijk Museum, which demonstrates his achievements in the refinement and application of the grid. In 1967 Crouwel designed the New Alphabet; he extended the grid to become a matrix within which letterforms were constructed as units on a grid, thus allowing for digital typesetting. Beginning in 1972 Crouwel started teaching part time at the Delft Technical University, and in 1980, he left Total Design to be a full time professor. In 1985 he became the director of the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam and also held the Private Chair at Erasmus University, Rotterdam (1987-93). Crouwel has received numerous awards, including the British OBE, Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau, and most recently the prestigious Oeuvre prize.