Magazine article Eye : The International Review of Graphic Design

The Gridniks

Magazine article Eye : The International Review of Graphic Design

The Gridniks

Article excerpt

An extract from TD 63-73 by Total Design partner Ben Bos

When Total Design opened its doors at 567 Herengracht, in Amsterdam early in 1963, Ben Bos was its first employee. In TD 63-73 (Unit Editions, 2011), Bos, later a TD director, describes the group's early history, philosophy, politics and design methods with candour and humour. These extracts deal with TD's approach to typography and the grid.

'When searching for their own design language for Total Design, Benno Wissing and Wim Crouwel found themselves in good company,' writes Bos.

'The Swiss designers, such as Josef Muller-Brockmann, Armin Hofmann, Emil Ruder, etc. had won their spurs ... The underlying theories had already been worked out during the war years.

'The Swiss are always confronted with the complex language situation ... If you want to serve each language group even-handedly, then clear structures are vital. In Holland at this time, however, no-one had stopped to consider things to this extent. Bermo and Wim introduced these principles from the start of TD.

'The typographic palette at the office underwent a rigorous slimming down. [...] The thinking behind this was that only the content of information to be imparted should count, and that the choice of font had nothing to add in most cases. …

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