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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Chinese package deliverer


How to get back money from university without Fapiao (an official receipt)? You can’t, which I forgot when I ordered new materials for my department. The supplier had to make and sent a new receipt by mail. Since I was not in when it was delivered I had to pick it up at the transporters.

All transporters were holding court behind the shopping mall near the university. Some of them on the street, the more official in run down basements. It looks chaotic but somehow it works. It is still not clear to me how the delivery systems exactly functions. I got my receipt : ) Continue reading

Emile Zola’s ‘Ladies delight’


Emile Zola, In het paradijs voor de vrouw [o.e. Au Bonheur des Dames 1883], Contact, Amsterdam 1974. ISBN 90-254-6398-3, 434 pages

In ‘Ladies delight’–also known as ‘Au Bonheur des Dames’–French novelist Emile Zola tells the story of a country girl, a department store and the development of consumer society. It is a good read for shopping afficionado’s and historians alike. Published in 1883 it is based upon the meteoric rise of the still existing Parisian department store ‘Le Bon Marché’ around 1860. So what is the story with Zola? Continue reading

A PTT lunchbox?


‘PTT’ set in a Univers 55 was the logo that the Dutch State Company for Post and Telecommunications used for over two decades. A tremor of recognition when I encountered this mailbox red lunchbox on the internet.

Initially the PTT-logo in Univers was meant as a temporary replacement for a the real logo proposals. Dutch design agencies Tel Design and Total Design had both been working on a visual identity for the Dutch PTT since 1971. Delays and management changes resulted in a hesitant acceptance of the proposals.

The most important issue was which of the two logo proposals to choose. In the mean time teh PTT already started producing printed matter in the new visual identity typeface, the Univers. When in 1977 the initiative was taken to conclude some of the contractual business between the PTT and the design agencies. It was decided to leave things as they were.

Fabulous Albert Heijn packaging

Great packaging illustration from the dutch cartoonist Peter van Straten for nylon packaging. In his melancholic cartoons for newspapers and magazines Van Straten observes the small-often bedroom–hick ups in relations between man and woman. Very appropriate. Also a washing powder packaging that is a designers wet dream! Both found in the archive of Albert Heijn.

Cellux & Sellotape cans

Cellux and Sellotape can, ca. 1960s

Cellux and Sellotape can, ca. 1950s

Somewhere in the 1960s my grandfather must have taken home the Cellux can above. I first cast my eyes upon it when I unwrapped my St. Nicolas present last year. It served as a container for the present itself. I have forgotten what the present was but the can is still on view on my cupboard. What an obvious but wonderful idea, a ‘tapetype’ logo for tape! Continue reading

Master course ‘Branding’ at Sint Lucas Visual Arts- a unique combination of theory and practice

Belgium mailbox outside the train station ‘Gent Dampoort’

Belgium Mailbox outside the train station ‘Gent Dampoort’

Master students of graphic design at Sint Lucas (Gent, Belgium) have to finish at least three theoretical courses to obtain a master degree. One of the courses offered in 2009 was the ‘Branding’-course taught by Wibo Bakker. It is a further development of ‘The State of Design’ a course he gave at Sint Lucas in 2008. Continue reading

Bakker opened postgraduate course ‘Packaging’ at Sint-Lucas Visual Arts with a ‘Packaging History’-lecture

Tradecard Seelig Kaffee ‘Abschied’ ca. 1900 (coll. Bakker)

Tradecard Seelig Kaffee ‘Abschied’ ca. 1900 (coll. Bakker)

In 2008 Sint-Lucas (Gent, Belgium) established a unique postgraduate course for designers specializing in packaging design. The four months course takes two days a week and the curriculum consists of guest lectures, workshops and company visits. Wibo Bakker gave the opening shot for the 2009 course with a lecture that led his audience through some defining developments in packaging history.

In the first part of the lecture Bakker talked about the history of the British cookie factory Huntley & Palmers, followed by a discussion of how advances in technology and advertising affected packaging development until World War I. The second part was dedicated to the emergence of the American packaging industry and the introduction of psychological research in packaging design in the nineteen fifties. The lecture ended with an overview of the history of the Dutch supermarket chains Simon de Wit and De Gruyter, and the way they used design to present and sell their products.

Verpakkingen (Packaging), a new reader for the art academy St. Joost

Cover of  the ‘packaging’ reader


The research group ‘Visual Rhetoric’ at St. Joost (Breda) publishes an extensive series of readers about visual design. Each reader is compiled by a subject matter specialist. Bakker made the reader about ‘Packaging’. He selected and annotated (in Dutch) six articles that serve as an introduction to the history of this field. St. Joost sells the reader for a small price. Due to copyright regulations it is only available to students of Dutch colleges.