The Wonder of Wim

The Design Museum’s Wim Crouwel show opened last night and… it’s fantastic. A substantial, ‘proper’ graphic design exhibition given the space and treatment that Crouwel’s extraordinary output deserves

The Design Museum’s Wim Crouwel show opened last night and… it’s fantastic. A substantial, ‘proper’ graphic design exhibition given the space and treatment that Crouwel’s extraordinary output deserves

The Design Museum often seems nervous about graphics – perhaps it is unconvinced that graphic design can attract the visitor numbers and sponsorship that fashion or furniture can command. Wim Crouwel A Graphic Odyssey takes the first floor room that also housed the Peter Saville and Alan Fletcher shows. But the space has been transformed.

Much credit must go to the show’s designers, architects 6a who, along with co-curator Tony Brook, persuaded the Design Museum to open up the space and paint it white. At previous shows in that room, the space has been divided, with visitors taken round a pathway into individual spaces. The Crouwel show is in one big room and all the better for it.

The serried ranks of Crouwel’s posters also look fantastic from a distance, as do run-outs of some of his many logos.

Printed material is housed in a series of simple white tables, one set being raised to afford a better view.

The whole thing is very simple, very clean and ordered. Sometimes graphic design shows can seem too ephemeral, trivial almost. Wim Crouwel A Graphic Odyssey is a serious, substantial retrospective of a phenomenal career and a fitting tribute to a truly great designer. Co-curators Brook and Margaret Cubbage should be congratulated on what is, for my money, the finest graphic design show that the Design Museum has staged. Let’s hope it opens the door for more in the future.

NB: We thought you’d appreciate these images as a first sight, but the show is to be professionally photographed in the next few days. We will update with better images when we can get them. Michael Johnson has also blogged about the show here

Wim Crouwel A Graphic Odyssey is at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 until July 3.

RELATED CONTENT

Rick Poynor discusses the extraordinarily high regard in which Crouwel is held by some UK designers here

Fancy some Wim Crouwel wallpaper?

How Blanka lovingly recreated Crouwel’s classic Vormgevers poster, complete with wobbly hand-drawn lines, here

A review of Crouwel’s 2007 D&AD President’s Lecture

Michael C Place and Nicky Place of Build interview Crouwel for CR, here

 

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