Graphic Design in the Netherlands
Who is this guy? a simple question to begin with.
After I’ve returned the Paul Rand book to his home, I went to look for something else to read. It was a difficult choice because the library was filled with good-looking books. And yes, as a soon to be an intellectualized designer, I knew I should not judge any book by its cover. So I judged them by their layouts and pictures instead. And this one won the pop-out-from-my-quick 5 minutes shelves scanning.
Just look at this and tell me any reason to not want to know the creator of it.
Having zero clue who Otto Treumann is,
I took the book home and decided to have a cup of coffee with him.
- He was born in 1919, which is exactly 91 years ago. (2010)
- He is a functionalist graphic designer in the unalloyed Bauhaus tradition.
- He went to the renowned New Art School (Nieuwe Kunstshchool) in Amsterdam.
- He was Jew and has to move from his homeland in Germany to Netherlands during the Second World War. It left scars on his personal life. This is an interview (I’ve googled) about his experience during the war.
- After the war was over he stated that “We set to work after the war with the most positive feelings. We had the idea we were able to do constructive work; to positively influence cultural and political developments and even reshape them in part”. I found this very Modern and inspiring at the same time.
- One of his master was Willem Sandberg, a legendary Dutch designer / typographer (and I’ve just came to a correlation that the Sandberg Institute was named after him.)
- He designed a great number of beautiful posters and stamps, saying “A poster seen from a great distance is nothing other than a postage stamp seen from close up.”
- In his vision it is the user who occupies centre stage: printed work need not necessarily have a beautiful form but must be well-designed. But somehow I discovered most of his works as great pleasure to the eyes.
- He once said that his work is not figurative because he ‘simply couldn’t draw that well’. Love that.
The most amazing thing about having to read this book is to know that these were designed by a man who was born almost a decade ago. Beauty is timeless.
As a matter of fact, when I was home sitting at my laptop, I just realized I already have some of his artworks saved in my folder!? Probably they were from those visual inspiration blog. So I am now happy to have him in my mind, along with the once unknown work of his I came across.