Typo Berlin


Next week all the type geeks will converge to Berlin to indulge in an orgy of typographic lectures. Naturally Type & Media will be present! Interestingly someone sent me a link about the nationalities that will be present at Typo-Berlin. The pie chart clearly shows that the germans are the majority of visitors. But what is surprising is the rather high number of Belgians compared to the Dutch and the Brits. There will be 37 belgians, that is almost twice as much as the dutch. OK, 37 is not a lot but if you think that we actually outnumber the “great-dutch-nation-of-typographers” then something must be happening in Belgium. How to explain this sudden interest for typography in Belgium? I can’t.

As far as I know type design stopped in belgium with Hendrik van den Keere around 1580. However, there seem to be a new generation of belgian type designer such as Jo De Baerdemaeker and Frederik Berlaen. But it remains very marginal and in an ever increasing globalized world the origins of the designers cary less and less importance. Don’t get me wrong, I am not nostalgic or a chauvinist, I am just curious to know why there is so much interest in typography in Belgium. This renewed interest will hopefully bring an end to more than 427 years of complete disregard for type design.

Feel free to correct me if i have omitted to mention other contemporary belgian type designers.


8 Responses to “Typo Berlin”

  1. Dan Reynolds Says:

    Well, Yves Peters is sharing the stage for a presentation with Stephen Coles, and Yves is Belgian. Maybe there is a link? Also, the country one has his address in and his nationality are not necessarially the same. There are many Dutch designers who work in Germany and elsewhere who will no doubt attend. And many “Dutch” students may not be Dutch at all, but just studying there and travelling from the Netherlands to Berlin for the conference.

    Neverthless, I’m looking forward to the conference myself (I’m an American who gets counted in the German column, but will soon get counted in the UK column, I guess…). This will be my fourth TYPO, and they are always a blast. Stop by the Linotype booth at the conference to see me, and I give you lots of free goodies.

  2. Guillaume Says:

    For as much as I know Luk Mestdagh, from catapult, has also designed some typefaces in his earlier days. Someone should start writing a history of Belgian graphic design…

  3. sebsan Says:

    Salut Guillaume,

    For sure, it’s about tIme someone wrote about Belgian design. But is there enough to write about?

  4. Guillaume Says:

    Seriously, there is (Luc Van Malderen, Michel Olyff,…)

    By the way, I found you another contemporary typedesigner : http://eric.de-berranger.club.fr/

    *Merde* just realising he’s french although he is designing the new typeface for STIB. So not only do these bastards work with, like, five different agencies, they can’t even pick a Belgian when they should… tss…


  5. sebsan Says:

    Luc Van Malderen and Michel Olyff are great belgian designers but have they actually designed a type family?

    Clotilde Olyff has designed a few experimental typefaces : http://www.myfonts.com/person/olyff/clotilde/

  6. Guillaume Says:

    No, I don’t think they have. They’re just graphic designers that would be worth writing about.

    Doesn’t Olyff also have a son currently at La Cambre? Perhaps even a grandson. Funny family.

  7. Ellen De Jong Says:

    I guess you’re right. Begium hasn’t got the same tradition in type design, and there is no proper education program in Belgium neither. But I’ve noticed more interest in it recently. So, give us some time, were busy to catch you up.
    By the way, you should check the work of Filiep Tacq, a Belgian graphic designer. I hope you can find something. (What is it with these Belgians and there modesty, the man hasn’t even got a website) I also appreciate the work of my former lecturer at Sint-Lucas, go see http://www.ingeketelers.be/ if you’re interested.
    I hope the row of belgian type designers will soon be filled up.
    Au revoir!
    Ellen (I met you at Gentse Feesten … It took me a while to decode the site you wrote on my arm, but thanks, I found you)

  8. Ununganylaf Says:

    Which WordPress template do you use?

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