London’s Design Museum Plans Wim Crouwel Retrospective

Grid-loving graphic design legend Wim Crouwel, now 82, will get his close-up next year when the Design Museum celebrates his career with a major retrospective. Spanning more than 60 years, the exhibition will cover the Dutch designer’s rigorous approach and such milestones as his work for design practice TotalDesign, the identity for Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, as well as his iconic poster, print, typography, and lesser known exhibition design. In a nod to Crouwel’s mod works that captured the essence of the emerging computer and space age of the early 1960s, the show is entitled “Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey.” It will be on view from March 30 through July 3, 2011.

Fontheads like us will delight in the show’s in-depth look at Crouwel’s NewAlphabet, a typeface he designed in 1967 for use in the newfangled computer systems of the day. “This illegible font challenged the design establishment and provoked debate, a debate which Crouwel was happy to engage and openly admitted to placing visual aesthetics above function,” noted the Design Museum in a statement announcing the retrospective. Meanwhile, guest curator and Spin creative director Tony Brook won’t leave viewers hanging as to Crouwel’s influence on contemporary graphic design. The exhibition will feature commentary from design stars such as Peter Saville and Stefan Sagmeister, while the Design Museum Shop will be stocked with Crouwel-inspired prints created by the likes of Experimental Jet Set, Cartlidge Levene, and Hamish Muir. Another bit of special merch we’re looking forward to: a limited-edition wallpaper inspired by Crouwel’s work.