Taiwanese edition of ‘A Clear Dream’ published

The Taiwanes edition of ‘A Clear Dream’ on top of the Dutch edition.

The Taiwanes edition of ‘A Clear Dream’ on top of the Dutch edition.

Two weeks ago the Taiwanese edition of my book ‘A Clear Dream’ (Droom van Helderheid) was published as part of the ‘Source series’. It is surprising to see such an interest in Taiwan in the history of Dutch visual identity, modernism and design agencies.

The ‘Source series” is an imprint of Taiwanese designer Wang Zhi-Hong facilitated by Faces Publications. Luckely the print quality of the book seems better then the Chinese edition published last year. It is fascinating to see how Zhi-Hong uses social media to generate interest: the book has already been seen by over 11.000 people on Behance (featured graphic design), and by many more on Tumbler, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The book features a nice cover and a carefully composed layout that to a large degree is based upon the Dutch edition, that was designed by Piet Gerards Ontwerpers. It is not clear whether Zhi-Hong takes note of this.

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New York: Being there

Central Park

Central Park

New York is a nice city, unless you experience it during one of the more severe frost periods of this century. Average day temperature was -6, at night it was -15 degrees Celsius. Earlier I had imagined leisurely walking from my hotel through Central Park to the archive I worked at each day. It now became an slippery and icy adventure! Continue reading

New York & Fort Myers Beach > DOT-Symbol Research

Sketch for the DOT symbols by Cook & Shanosky (Smithsonian Design Museum). Ca. 1974.

Sketches for the DOT symbols by Cook & Shanosky (Smithsonian Design Museum). Ca. 1974.

New York was the starting place for 4 interviews and some crucial archive research into the DOT symbols. Perhaps the best interview I had was with Tom Geismar, one of the founding partners of Chermayeff & Geismar, a known US design agency of the 1960. They designed among others the Mobile, Chase, Xerox and National Geographic identity. Interestingly they have a connection with the Netherlands: In the 1960s Total Design, Chermayeff & Geismar and Pentagram co published a book with their logo’s. Continue reading

Research trip to the US

Approach to JFK Airport

Approach to JFK Airport, New York

Long time no see! It was a very busy November, after which I spent a just as busy December and January in the Netherlands. After a week in Shanghai for some departmental meetings I flew to the US for a 3 week research trip.

From XJTLU I received a small research grant to research the history of the DOT-symbols. These were jointly developed by the American Association of Graphic Designers (AIGA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). These symbols are among the best know public information symbols on the planet and were introduced from 1974 onwards. They are still an inspiration to symbol designers.

So what is on the menu during this trip? Among other things research in the archives of the DOT at the US National Archives in Washington, and research in the archives of the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York. Also I have planned interviews with a member of the working group that guided the development of these symbols: Tom Geismar in New York, and interviews with the actual designers; Rajie (Roger) Cook in Pensylvania and Don Shanosky in Florida.

Links to research trip:
Washington & The National Archives
New York & Fort Myers Beach > DOT Symbol Research
New York: Being There

Approach to Pudong, Shanghai

Approach to Pudong, Shanghai

Slight snow blanket over the carefully planned farmland of the Noordoostpolder, The Netherlands

Slight snow blanket over the carefully planned farmland of the Noordoostpolder, The Netherlands

‘Hello J-15’: jet-fighters & shopping

China is proud of its new jet fighter, the J-15. A Suzhou shopping center–Emerald City–has a live sized model on exhibit with many festivities surrounding it. The J-15, also called the Flying Shark, made its first landing on the new Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning in 2012. Full scale production began in December 2013. Continue reading

‘Emerging Practices’ Conference Tongji University


When I first visited Shanghai I returned with a severe food poisoning and got almost stuck on a flooded highway. This time it was a remarkably more comfortable experience. I travelled with a colleague to Tongji University which was the venue for the third Design Research and Education Conference titled ‘Emerging Practices’, attended by circa 100 people.

Keynote lectures from Ken Friedland, Don Norman and Patrick Whitney were transformed into a joint performance. According to Don Norman they did their utmost best in making ‘us feel uncomfortable’. It was a great pleasure seeing them interacting together. New insights? Not that much, that classic product design was going out of the window. . .we knew. Continue reading

6 Design History Associations

  • Design Associazione Italiana Storici del Design, Italy
  • Design History Foundation, Catalonia
  • Design History Society, United Kingdom
  • Gesellschaft für Designgeschichte, Germany
  • International Committee for Design History and Design Studies, world
  • Stichting Designgeschiedenis Nederland, Nederland
  • Know more? Please say so. I will add them.