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Ok, more on Mevis & van Deursen.

October 11, 2010

Ok, so I was just adding comments to my old post about Mevis & van Deursen, but it wouldn’t let me add images, so I needed to start another post.

So first of all, you might know them from the Rotterdam graphic identity project. I’d seen this project a couple of times but hadn’t really registered who had done it. (You can see some images here. I hope that gives enough explanation, because I am having very much trouble indeed finding their website online, which I feel silly about (but I am simultaneously watching their video and taking screenshots(!) because I’m worried I won’t be able to find the images anyplace else.) Quick recap of Rotterdam gi: instead of a fixed logo, they created a system of shapes and rules that could be combined and used for Rotterdam materials. Very famous example. To my mind one of the first instances of a dynamic identity, though if you know of other earlier cases that have been forgotten and/or ignored, PLEASE tell me.)

Anyways, so I was watching the video with half an eye and talking with my friend online with the other when I got to around 42:00 on the video and I just fell off my chair…

They basically tried to create a graphic identity with various typefaces. Not just a couple of different headline faces and maybe a good, sturdy, multi-optioned textface. BUT EIGHT DIFFERENT TEXT TYPEFACES WITHIN THE GRAPHIC IDENTITY. Which all become intermixed for the headlines, and that becomes the logo system, etc.

A graphic identity with a number of text faces has been a secret dream of mine for a while now. So on the one hand it was a little sad to see someone got there before me but of course they took it much further than I had ever dreamed of and with much more finesse (turns out it helps when you are working with a type designer, who knew) than I could have pulled off, so it was really amazing to see how they worked it out and that it, indeed, could be worked out.


A lot of great quotes, too:

Talking about a Victor and Rolf project, he says:

“We didn’t feel that there was any design needed. Do what needs to be done, in a really good way. And not mess it up in a design way.”

I love that; I really feel that’s a tremendous part of what I’m learning — EDITING.

I have to say, the thing that drives me nuts is their book. I’m listening to him talk about the reasoning behind it–they didn’t want to do a straight-up monograph cause they weren’t really nearing the end of their career, etc–all of which I totally agree and understand but having seen the book today in the library, it’s extremely frustrating to use. All their work is collaged, so you can’t figure out what is going on. Mevis talks about it exposing their consistent visual language, but really, the only thing that comes out is the collage feeling rather than any consistent language.


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