The Debate: The Legendary Contest of Two Giants of Graphic Design

Crouwel, Wim; van Toorn, Jan; Huygen, Frederike

Published by The Monacelli Press, 2015
ISBN 10: 1580934129 / ISBN 13: 9781580934121
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Synopsis: PRINT magazine and Design Observer Best Book of the Year

The first English translation of a famous 1972 debate between Dutch graphic designers Wim Crouwel and Jan van Toorn, a public clash of subjectivity versus objectivity at Amsterdam’s Museum Fodor that helped set the stage for bold philosophical showdowns to come in design culture.
 
Held in response to an exhibition of Van Toorn’s work at Stedelijk Museum, including student posters protesting the Vietnam War—in an era of youth culture and increasing resistance to authority, capitalism, and the power of media—the stakes were aesthetic, ethical, and politically charged.
 
Crouwel defended his approach of neutrality and austere rationalism, attention to typography and worksmanship, and professionalism in service of the client’s message. Van Toorn argued for his use of chaos, collage, and photographs of everyday life; that a designer’s ideas, personality, and political commitments are integral to the work.
 
Dialogue on The Debate has reverberated in graphic design circles for the four decades since, and it is often referenced in modern design criticism as a key marker for the philosophical positions that continue to define the profession. The first English transcript of this key event in design history will allow a contemporary audience to discover the ongoing relevance of The Debate in an increasingly complex visual culture.
 
Along with the transcript, this pocket-sized clothbound book contains a foreword by prominent design critic Rick Poynor, and essays from Dutch design historian Frederike Huygen, who discusses the historical context of the debate, and curator Dingenus van de Vrie, who looks more closely at these two giants’ different perspectives on graphic design. A color gallery juxtaposes a representative selection from the oeuvres of Crouwel and Van Toorn, including exhibition designs, calendars, posters, brochures, artist book designs, postal stamps, and fascinating works such as the script of a 1969 stage production based on a story by Jorge Luis Borges, sealed in a tin can, and a many-gatefolded catalog for Ed Ruscha’s “Dutch Details” at Groninger Museum.

About the Author: Wim Crouwel (b. 1928) is a graphic designer, typographer, and edu­cator. Inspired by Swiss design, the emerging International Style, and the principles of abstract art, Crouwel pursued clarity and simplicity in design, and embarked on experiments with letterforms and graphic systems, and a rigorous examination of the grid. In 1963 he cofounded Total Design, the first multidiscipli­nary design studio in the Netherlands, which was to become a dominant force in Dutch design. Presaging the era of digital typesetting, he designed the legendary typeface New Alphabet (1967). He is the subject of numerous books and exhibitions, and has received the British OBE, Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau, the BKVB Funds Oeuvre Award, and Doctor Honoris Causa from Delft University.
 
Jan van Toorn (b. 1932) is one of the most significant and influential Dutch graphic designers of our time. Confrontational and idiosyncratic, he led the dissent against the ‘objective’ approach of design that dominated modernism, paving the way for the more critical, political and playful potential of postmodernism. He has taught graphic design and visual communication in The Netherlands and internationally, at institutions includ­ing Gerrit Rietveld Academie, the Department of Architecture at Eindhoven Technical University, and Rhode Island School of Design. From 1991 until 1998 he was director of the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. He was the first recipient of the Piet Zwart prize in 1985, and received Doctor Honoris Causa from the Royal College of Art in 2011. Van Toorn lives and works in Amsterdam.
 
Rick Poynor is a British writer, lecturer, and curator, specializing in design, photography, and visual culture. He was the founding editor of Eye magazine and cofounder of Design Observer. His articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous international publications, including I.D., Metropolis, Harvard Design Magazine, Adbusters, Blueprint, Icon, Frieze, The Guardian, and the Financial Times.
 
Frederike Huygen is the former curator of industrial design at the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, the coauthor of the monograph Wim Crouwel: mode en module (1997), and author of two anthologies about Dutch design entitled Visies op vormgeving (2007, 2008).
 
Dingenus van de Vrie is assistant curator of the print collection at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. He has written exten­sively about Dutch graphic designers, including Jac. Jongert, Jurriaan Schrofer, and Benno Wissing.

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Title: The Debate: The Legendary Contest of Two ...
Publisher: The Monacelli Press
Publication Date: 2015
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Monacelli Press, United States, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A PRINT magazine and Design Observer Best Book of the Year The first English translation of a famous 1972 debate between Dutch graphic designers Wim Crouwel and Jan van Toorn, a public clash of subjectivity versus objectivity at Amsterdam s Museum Fodor that helped set the stage for bold philosophical showdowns to come in design culture. Held in response to an exhibition of Van Toorn s work at Stedelijk Museum, including student posters protesting the Vietnam War--in an era of youth culture and increasing resistance to authority, capitalism, and the power of media--the stakes were aesthetic, ethical, and politically charged. Crouwel defended his approach of neutrality and austere rationalism, attention to typography and worksmanship, and professionalism in service of the client s message. Van Toorn argued for his use of chaos, collage, and photographs of everyday life; that a designer s ideas, personality, and political commitments are integral to the work. Dialogue on The Debate has reverberated in graphic design circles for the four decades since, and it is often referenced in modern design criticism as a key marker for the philosophical positions that continue to define the profession. The first English transcript of this key event in design history will allow a contemporary audience to discover the ongoing relevance of The Debate in an increasingly complex visual culture. Along with the transcript, this pocket-sized clothbound book contains a foreword by prominent design critic Rick Poynor, and essays from Dutch design historian Frederike Huygen, who discusses the historical context of the debate, and curator Dingenus van de Vrie, who looks more closely at these two giants different perspectives on graphic design. A color gallery juxtaposes a representative selection from the oeuvres of Crouwel and Van Toorn, including exhibition designs, calendars, posters, brochures, artist book designs, postal stamps, and fascinating works such as the script of a 1969 stage production based on a story by Jorge Luis Borges, sealed in a tin can, and a many-gatefolded catalog for Ed Ruscha s Dutch Details at Groninger Museum. Bookseller Inventory # AA99781580934121

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