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“De Kruik” illustration, Tété # 9

Contributed by Jan Middendorp on Jan 12th, 2018. Artwork published in
March 1946
.
    “De Kruik” illustration, Tété # 9
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    This piece by Dutch designer Nan Platvoet for Tété magazine visualizes a Dutch proverb that has its English equivalent in “The pitcher goes often to the well, but is broken at last,” and “Der Krug geht so lange zum Brunnen, bis er bricht” in German.

    Tété was a Dutch “technical magazine for the graphic industry” that first appeared shortly after the May 1945 liberation. It was conceived as an independent trade magazine focusing on technical detail (with consistent attention for type and typography), probably to avoid the occasionally painful ideological confrontations in the graphic design world. This was mainly a discord between left-wing graphic designers (several of whom had been active in the anti-Nazi resistance during the 1940–45 occupation) and commercial artists who had continued working quietly, hoping to stay a-political.

    This is from Tété # 9, March-April 1946; Platvoet also designed its cover. Nan Platvoet, who never became famous, was a talented illustrator-designer who was clealry no member of the leftist elite. Yet he contributed richly to mid-century trade magazines, advertising and corporate publications and gradually developed his own brand of neo-modernism. In this personal piece there is a hint of forced post-liberation optimism (or perhaps wry humour?) in the colorful picture and type; the latter was set in the successful Libra from the Amsterdam Typefoundry — pre-1940 type director Sjoerd de Roos’s take on the uncial.

    • From the Fust & Friends archive.

    For more info on the conflict between commercial artists and leftist graphic designers, see my article “A Dutch Controversy” written for TypoGraphic 61, ISTD 2003.

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    • Libra

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