Wim Crouwel

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Born in Groningen, Netherlands  in 1928, Willem Hendrik Crouwel is a Dutch graphic designer and typographer. He is a modernist and functionalist. Crouwel’s graphic work is especially well known for the use of grid-based layouts and typography that is rooted in the International Typographic style. He studied fine arts at Academie Minerva in Groningen and he studied typography at what is now the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. After art school he became a painter leaning towards expressionism. As a designer he felt related to the Bauhaus ideas, the swiss-inspired international style. He was fascinated by the rational aspect in Bauhaus typography.

During his career, he founded the design studio Total Design, now known as Total Identity and designed posters, catalogues and exhibitions for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.  In the years he worked in this design studio, he designed many geometric wordmarks, one of which is the wordmark for the Rabobank, designed in 1973. The lettershapes have been influenced by the fact that the wordmark had to be used as a 3D light box. After the 3D application was finalized, the 2D design for print was adapted from it. He is also responsible for the creation of many typefaces, including New Alphabet, Fodor, and Gridnik.

Apart from his work as a graphic designer, he also worked as a teacher at the Royal Academy of art and Design in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and at the predecessor of what is now the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. For many years, he also dealt with the department of industrial design f the Delft University of Technology. He was also a professor  in the fields of History, Arts and Culture Studies at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and director of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

Today, Crouwel still is an active member of the Dutch graphic design scene as an advisor in Total Design. It has more than 150 designers spread among 6 cities. Their recent work can be found on


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