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The more uninteresting a letter, the more useful it is to the typographer.

Piet Zwart worked as a photographer, graphic and industrial designer, and architect in the 1920s and 1930s. He is considered to be one of the most well known and influential designers of his time, particulary in modern graphic design.

From 1902-1907 Zwart attended the School of Applied Arts in Amsterdam where there was little division between several disciplines as drawing, painting, architecture and applied arts. He was introduced to the principles of the English Arts and Crafts movement, which was extremely popular in the early 1900’s in the Netherlands.

 

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Letterhead for Jan Wils 1921

Zwart's excellent use of color, typography, composition and photography are reminiscent of the Bauhaus. His influence on the future generations of graphic designers lives on through the Piet Zwart Institute at the William de Kooning Academy.

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At the age of 36 Zwart designed his first typographic work when asked to create stationery for Wils’ office.

Laga Rubber Flooring 1923

Hot Spots 1926

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“Among the few I have indicated, is there no dynamic man of action, the rebel who will help determine the aspect of the collective expression of tomorrow?

Ponder this question and know that to make beautiful creations for the sake of their aesthetic value will have no social significance tomorrow, will be nonsensical self-gratification. Every era contains the conditions for providing a rebel.”

 

photographer

architect

graphic designer

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