Sunday, 24 April 2011

Wim Crouwel: 'A Graphic Odyssey' at London's Design Museum

I'd been hearing about this exhibition for a while on Twitter and via various blogs, so I knew I had to take a trip down to London this Easter so to not miss out.

As I walked across Tower Bridge (which is a breath-taking experience in itself), I could see the Design Museum, with Wim Crouwel's recognisable identity design emblazoned across the exterior walls in the distance, and my excitement grew rapidly.  I've sadly not yet been able to visit the Design Museum, despite it showcasing many amazing design exhibitions in the past, so I was really looking forward to my visit.

The Dutch designer has had a prolific career, and this is evident as soon as you stepped into the exhibition space. I was totally overwhelmed with the size of the display, and the amount of work that was being showcased. Crouwel is regarded as one of the 20th century's leading designers, and you can see why when viewing his work. I was really taken aback with how much he had produced; from posters to brochures, and typefaces to calendars, it really was an inspiring collection of formats and designs. I was particularly drawn to the far wall, which showcased some of the identity designs he had produced, as they were all such simple - yet impressively clever - pieces of design. It surprised me that I was drawn to this particular area of his work, as I really struggle when trying to create identity designs. For some reason, it isn't my strong point, but definitely something I want to push myself into doing more often.

Another area of work that I was really excited by was the work he produced for Stedelijk museum, Amsterdam (with Total Design). He helped create a series of really beautiful posters and brochures, which blew me away. Their bold use of colour and type was expertly considered, helping to produce some incredibly striking pieces of design.

I felt completely in my element while at the exhibition, I probably spent over an hour studying his work and making notes and sketches. I even felt inspired to start generating ideas for one of my projects. It was a really great experience, and has made me want to try and see more exhibitions when I have the chance.

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