One 5am wake up call and six hour train ride later, we made it to Amsterdam. One thing we can all agree on here is the shortage of available wifi has made us revert back to actually having conversations in public spaces. Our down time has been filled with many interesting and thought provoking design conversations.
Our first stop in Amsterdam was Studio Joost Grootens. Joost has visited us in San Marcos before, but it was an invaluable experience to chat with him in his own studio. He and his colleague, Dimitri Jeannottat showed us some of their favorite pieces. We had an interesting conversation on the “definition” of a book and what inspires Joost and his team to keep creating. Needless to say, we all looked forward to the show-and-tell of Joost and his team’s inspiring creations.
After our chat with Joost, we took a quick tour of the impeccable Centrale Bibliotheek Amsterdam (the Amsterdam public library). The library is ten floors of books, art installations, private study spaces, meeting areas and breathtaking architecture.
We spent the rest of the day acclimating ourselves to Amsterdam and catching our breath from the 1 million stairs at our hotel.
Thursday morning we were able to meet with author and book historian, Mathieu Lommen. Mathieu works as the graphic design curator in the Special Collections department of the Amsterdam University Library. We felt very privileged to be able to see some of his treasured collection of type specimen and rare printed books…some dating back to early 15th century.
We then headed south to visit Bas Jacobs at Underware. Bas talked with us about the important relationship that the letter form has not only within itself, but with the space around it. His passion and unique approach to type design lead us into a great conversation about about the current state and future of type design. He also showed us a bit of what he and his team at Underware are currently working on as well. Their work continues to inspire all of us.
Our last visit of the day on Thursday was with type designer Diana Ovezea. Diana shared with us some of the exercises she uses to explore letter forms in calligraphy as well as some of her current work.
We’ve enjoyed our visits in Amsterdam and have learned some interesting and inspiring approaches to type, letterforms and their application.