“welkom, welcome, benvenuto, willkommen, velkom, dobro dosjlie” — poster for De Bijenkorf
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Cliché has it that the corporate identities of the 1960s as introduced by modernists like Total Design only allowed for sans serifs like Helvetica and Univers, preferably in one bold weight, all lowercase. Even when true, this doesn’t have to be dull or unimaginative, as the example above demonstrates. Ben Bos didn’t limit his typographic palette to a few “neutral” fonts, though. His work for De Bijenkorf alone testifies to his open-mindedness: There is Compacta (Campingrediënten ’66), Prisma (C. ’68), Eckmann (Buffetdinner), Cooper Black (Hula Drups), French stencil letters (Camping) and more — whatever suits the purpose. “Down with dogma”, to quote Alan Fletcher, another great designer from Bos’ generation.
In lieu of an obituary, Jan Middendorp has published an article he had written about Ben Bos in 2007.