Typographic Architect. 2
July 2007
Typographic Architectures
Architectures Typographiques

Towards the end of 2006, we designed the invitation of 'Wim Crouwel: Architectures Typographiques 1956–1976', an exhibition that took place between February 10 and March 28, 2007, at Galerie Anatome (Paris). To read the story behind this invitation, see Typographic Architectures 1.
Next to the invitation, we were also asked to design the catalog for this exhibition. This bilingual catalog would be published by F7, and would carry the title 'Wim Crouwel: Architectures Typographiques / Typographic Architectures' (ISBN 978-2-916796-02-4).

Shown below the front and back of the book, followed by a selection of spreads:

experimental_jetset_crouwel_front experimental_jetset_crouwel_back
The size of the book is 165 x 220 mm, a nice 3:4 proportion (originally we planned the book to be 180 x 240 mm, but that wasn't possible within the budget).
The grid is quite clear: each page is divided in four. It is in fact the most basic grid ever: a horizontal line and a vertical line, crossing each other in the middle. We thought such an archetypical grid would fit really well with the subject of the book, self-declared 'gridnik' Wim Crouwel. We had been playing with the idea of using such an archetypical grid earlier, but for some reason we never found a good occasion; so we were glad we could now finally use it in the right context.
(While we're writing this, we suddenly realize the grid we used is actually quite 'motorik'. In Krautrock, 'motorik' refers to the 4/4 drumbeat used by bands such as Neu! and early Kraftwerk. Flipping through the pages of the book, you can really sense the 4/4 rhythm of the grid, almost like an 'Apache beat').

On the cover of the book, we used two of the photographs made by Johannes Schwartz (see Typographic Architectures 1). The front cover is immediately followed by a section showing Wim Crouwel's 'New Alphabet' publication (1967) in full, page by page. After that, there's a text section, containing an introduction by Wim Crouwel, essays by Catherine de Smet and Emmanuel Bérard, and a biography/bibliography. Then there's a one-page interval showing two more photographs by Johannes Schwartz, followed by a section featuring faithfully reproduced pencil sketches by Crouwel. After that, there's a short portfolio of posters created between 1956 and 1976. Finally there is a large section of images made by the French artist Jérôme Saint-Loubert Bié, who photographed Wim Crouwel's work as it was exhibited in Anatome, subtly manipulating the photographs in such a way that the work seems to be displayed in a long, endless vitrine. The last page of the book shows the colophon.

The budget for the book was quite small; usually Anatome publishes only a small brochure with their exhibitions. That we actually managed to turn this brochure into an actual book had a lot to do with the fact that everybody (the publishers, photographers, designers, writers) put a lot of their own time and money in the project; in that sense, it really was a labour of love.
We were actually quite glad with how the booklet turned out. However, around the same time that 'Typographic Architectures' was published, Japanese magazine IDEA came out with an issue (issue 323, to be precise) fully dedicated to Crouwel, featuring amazing material, metallic inks, spot varnish, laminated sections. It really blew our little booklet out of the water.
Still, we do believe 'Typographic Architectures' is a valuable addition to the Crouwel bibliography, as we really think the two essays (by Catherine de Smet and Emmanuel Bérard) are very interesting. Instead of portraying Crouwel as the stereotypical functionalist (as others, including Crouwel himself, usually do), they really shed a new light on Crouwel by showing the way in which his work is influenced by pop-cultural forces such as Science Fiction and Pop Art. That's a refreshing change of perspective.

One more note about the publication. As we already wrote (see Typographic Architectures 1), we were quite unhappy about the way the invitation for the exhibition was printed. The invitation being printed in France, with us having no control over it, the quality was just poor.
For the publication of the catalog, we reprinted the original card (in much better quality), and inserted a card in each catalog. We actually printed four different variations of the card, and divided these variations over the catalogs randomly, one card per book. These four cards can be seen below:
First of all, we would like to thank Karen Willey, for kindly assisting us with this book. We would also like to thank Galerie Anatome, Catherine de Smet, Alex deValence and all others involved. The catalogue can be ordered at F7 (www.fsept.net).

Book printed by Drukkerij robstolk (r), Amsterdam.

Filed under:

Printed matter, Books

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