Wim Crouwel, born in Groningen (the Netherlands) in 1928 is a remarkable and inspiring figure with an inventive spirit and vision, vigorous and always distinguished.*
He designed his first poster in 1952. After leaving artschool he became a painter leaning towards Expressionism, but as he designed this first poster he discovered the pleasure of organising visual information in an aesthetical context.
The contrast between Crouwel as a lyrical expressionist painter and objectivating functionalist designer couldn’t be more extreme. 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, which he discovered through Karl Gerstner’s and Gerard Ifert’s work.
Although his ideas were bauhaus-related, unlike many Crouwel was not a dogmatist. He was fascinated by the ideas about serial and mass production, as he stated “we need the machine since we have no time”. But he also believed “the machine cannot replace the precision of the human eye and human feeling”.* Crouwel’s work has always consisted of these two essential elements: the emotional aspect and the rational one.