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Wim Crouwel / Total Design- 20 jaar verzamelen / Stedelijk Museum, 1984

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Followers of this blog know of my special interest in the publications of the Stedelijk Museum. I have many titles avaialable and ftn-books.com is one of the first sources that is consulted when it comes to publications of and on the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Yet…. one learns every day, even when you have so many catalogues by the Stedelijk Museum available as i do. It has been years ago that i last saw this catalogue which was published by the Stedelijk in 1984 which gives the best and complete overview of their collecting in the period 1963-1984.

Why is this important? Personally i think that this is the period in which the SM made their best and most important purchases. How about important acquisitions like the ones by Kelly, Dubuffet, LeWitt, de Kooning , Mangold , Lichtenstein and Warhol. Just a few names that belong to the most famous ones, but among the hundreds of these acquisitions there is so much quality art acquired that only with these acquisitions one can fill an entire collection and become  with this collection one of the most important Modern Art Museums in the world. The book was compiled by Joosten and designed by Total Design/ Wim Crouwel, which makes it even more worthwhile collecting . It is now available at www.ftn-book.com

20 jaar verzamelen sm

 

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Wim Crouwel..design of the Atelier series for the Stedelijk Museum.

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The focus of this blog is on the covers of a very impressive series Wim Crouwel designed for the Stedelijk Museum during a period of roughly 14 years in the Sixties and Seventies ( between 1965 and 1979). This series has the typical Crouwel layout and typography and beside these elements these designs are ” clean” without any frills ….just function. These were done when the Total Design agency had their “GOLDEN YEARS” and Wim Crouwel was one of the most important members of Total Design ( founded in 1963). This is a great series of 16 publications . Some with loose pages in portfolio, others in the shape of posters or just ordinary booklets, but all have the quality design Wim Crouwel stands for. Most of these publications are available at www.ftn-books.com and if your are looking for other Crouwel publications search for them at the same site.

 

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Benno Wissing (1923-2008)

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In the dutch museum and art scene there are some classical partnerships regarding the design of museumpublications. There are Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel who bot worked in different decades for the Stedelijk Museum. There is again Wim Crouwel and Walter Nikkels who worked for the van Abbemuseum. There are Donald Janssen and Gracia Lebbink who had their designs published by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and there is Benno Wissing ( one of the founders of Total Designs) who worked almost exclusively for the Boymans Van Beuningen Museum Rotterdam during 3 decades.

Bernard (Benno) Wissing was a Dutch designer, painter, graphic artist and architect. He trained as a painter at the Art Academy in Rotterdam.

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He began his career in 1949 as a designer for the Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam under VP Ebbinge Wubbe. He designed catalogs and posters and established exhibitions. He was one of the founders of Total Design which he worked from 1964 to 1972.

Benno Wissing is for me one of the greatest names in dutch design, but still stands in the shadow of Crouwel and Sandberg. Undeservedly, because his designs are true ” classics”. Just search for Wissing at www.ftn-books.com and find some excellent examples of his truly great designs.

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Total Design (1963-2000)

This text was taken from the site ” MEMORY OF THE NETHERLANDS ” and gives an excellent idea what TD was.

The corporation Associatie voor Total Design NV, Total Design for short, was established in 1963. Until then, practically all major design commissions from Dutch clients had been contracted out to foreign agencies. There were no large design agencies in the Netherlands at the time. Total Design was established with a view to filling this unsatisfactory gap.

Total Design’s board of management in 1963; from left to right: Friso Kramer, Dick Schwarz, Benno Wissing, Ben Bos, Paul Schwarz and Wim Crouwel (photography: Jan Versnel)

The founders were Wim Crouwel (graphic design), Friso Kramer (industrial design), Benno Wissing (graphic and spatial design) and Paul and Dick Schwarz (organization and finance). Before long, Ben Bos, an experienced copywriter and designer, joined the team.

This mixed group had such wide ranging experience that it was able to execute complex ‘total’ commissions from a variety of clients in industry, trade and transport, and the government and cultural sectors.

Years of success
The 1960s were the most successful period for Total Design: its staff size increased enormously and the agency managed to hold on to various clients for a long time. Some of them, like Randstad and the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, ( of which many books are available at www.ftn-books.com) were extremely loyal to Total Design.

In those years, other important clients were Schiphol airport, De Bijenkorf, Steenkolen Handelsvereeniging (SHV), including its oil division PAM, Stichting Kunst en Handel (Arts And Business Foundation) and the Peter Stuyvesant Collection of paintings; a major commission dating back to that period was the design of the Dutch pavilion for the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair.

Poster ‘Holland Nestival Finale’ for the Holland Festival, 1978 (design by Anthon Beeke, Total Design)

Changes
In the 1970s, Total Design underwent great changes. The agency received mainly graphic commissions and created many house styles.

The composition of the staff changed as well. Some important designers from the very beginning decided to leave the agency. Friso Kramer had left already in 1967; in 1972, Benno Wissing, Anne Stienstra, Hartmut Kowalke and the Schwarz brothers followed. Wim Crouwel, Ben Bos and Hans Wierda became the managers.

The agency’s intricate and obscure management structure was replaced by semi-independent design teams. As a result, a new generation of designers, trained by the agency itself, got a chance to prove themselves.

A period of less cohesive views on design and style dawned. Designers like Jurriaan Schrofer, Anthon Beeke, Paul Mijksenaar and Andrew Fallon introduced a lively and fresh approach to design commissions. Loek van der Sande was taken on as office manager. Work for the Dutch Post Office PTT, the Amsterdam city transport company, the Holland Festival, the Globe Theatre as well as for other clients began in the 1970s.

Total Design experienced many further changes in the 1980s and 1990s. Jelle van der Toorn Vrijthoff joined the management team in 1982. He championed young talent and in particular new techniques. Sometimes his views were diametrically opposed to those of the old guard. Wim Crouwel left Total Design in 1985, Ben Bos followed in 1990. They were the last two designers who had been involved with Total Design from the very beginning.

New orientation
Much had changed, also in the field of design. Total Design no longer had the renown of the early years. Many more design agencies had sprung up in the Netherlands through the years.

In 1988, Hans Brandt began to develop the design agency into a strategic communication agency. In de 1990s, Total Designed shifted from being a classic design agency to becoming an organization that put the emphasis on identity development, corporate branding and reputation management. In 2000, the name Total Design was changed into Total Identity.

An excellent story in the history of Total Design, but to see the true meaning of the TD office you have to experience and see their designs. Beside the Stedelijk Museum publications there are some special Total Design books available at www.ftn-books.com