21 May 2011Working With Wim (and Factory Records)
Meanwhile, the catalogue for the ongoing Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey exhibition itself features an interview with Wim Crouwel by exhibition curator Tony Brook. There are couple of snippets for Factory fans:
Were you surprised to see New Alphabet used on the cover of a Joy Division record cover (Substance 1977-1980), designed by Peter Saville and Brett Wickens?
I discovered this at the end of the 1990s, and I was flattered that people had used it. I have seen it in pop magazines - mostly as headlines, and sometimes made a little more readable. They always made it by hand and didn't always follow my strict rules and guidelines. Suddenly, at the end of the 1990s, there was interest in this thing that had been developed 25 years before. That was also the time The Foundry came to me and asked if they could digitize my typefaces for their series of experimental typefaces by people like Jan Tschichold. I was greatly flattered. I immediately gave them permission, and I worked on the project with David Quay from The Foundry.
During your time at the Boijmans Museum you started working with the renowned English design group 8vo - how did that come about?
... I was invited by 8vo to do an article on lower-case typography for their magazine, Octavo. By doing this I got to know the three of them - Hamish Muir, Mark Holt and Simon Johnston - and I was impressed by their work. Hamish and Simon had trained in Basel and there was a strong influence from Swiss design, but different from what the Swiss did. I was impressed by their work, and also by the work, and also by the magazine, the layout of the Octavo magazine. In Holland during the 1980s, nothing of that direction was visible. I was so impressed that I immediately invited them to do the posters and catalogues for the museum. That was quite difficult, because we had a production manager in Holland, and a printing company in Belgium, and they were in London. We didn't have enough money to have them travelling back and forth all the time, so they invented a way to do it all by fax machine - we didn't have email at that point, so it was all done by fax and telephone.
Working like that must have been difficult. What did 8vo do that was so different?
8vo developed a direction for each department in the museum, and if you see the whole range of catalogues, you will see that they created a very recognizable series. It was difficult for me to be a commissioner, but when I started with them I said, the only thing you have to do is use Futura, because that was the museum's typeface. The size of the catalogue and the size of the posters was more or less fixed. The biggest difficulty they had was with Futura - they were really Helvetica people. For them it was a shock to have to work with Futura. But I think what they did was fantastic. I was very happy with that period. For about five years, they did all my catalogues and posters.
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey
Catalogue for the exhibition
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey
at the Design Museum, London
30 March - 03 July 2011
Cover No. 3
Printed in the Netherlands
Post punk cult band The Names emerged in the winter of 1977-1978 as The Passengers, gathering immediate attention on the local Brussels scene. In 1979, after a series of successful gigs and a crucial step forward opening for Magazine, they recorded their first E.P. ("Spectators Of Life") and attracted the interest of prominent label Factory Records in Manchester.
Their first British studio session (at Stockport's Strawberry Studio) produced the single "Nightshift" / "I Wish I Could Speak Your Language (Fac 29). Receiving enthusiastic reviews in the UK and abroad, it marked the start of a long and fruitful collaboration with producer Martin Hannett. The album "Swimming" followed as well as more singles, including "Calcutta" and "The Astronaut".
- extract from the official website biography