Elements Blog

A day of inspiration at the Stedelijk Museum

The design team took a couple of hours from work and visited the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam to get inspired by all the quality creative work that this modern and contemporary museum has to offer. From Wim Crouwel to Chagall and Mondriaan…All the different artists and artisans made our creative hearts beat a little faster. If you have the possibility to visit the museum, I would definitely encourage you to do so.

In our daily work we work a lot with typography. For some people it’s just a matter of picking a nice font, but for most of the designers it’s way more than that. It’s about an evoking an emotion. A good font really shows craftsmanship.

The tribute exposition of late “Mr. Gridnik” Wim Crouwel, who has made a big impact on the graphic design industry, really shows the art of typography and the processes he went through. His signature can be found in many typographic projects. He designed a lot for the Stedelijk Museum itself, but also the national stamps, the Rabobank or Auping wordmark and the font used on the Dutch football team to name a few. Just like Dieter Rams promotes simplicity in product design, late graphic designer Wim Crouwel focused on functionalism while being very focused on space and grids. A real inspirational exposition of a Dutch craftsman.

No items found.

After the exposition we continued our tour through the museum where several installations challenged us to find and understand the story or message that the artist wanted to send. We had a hard time figuring out the meaning behind the performance, but with a little help from the people that worked at the museum, we were able to figure it out.

Mixing in the masters

The cool thing about the museum is that they mix all sorts of modern and contemporary art with the work of masters like Chagall, Picasso, van Gogh and many others. It’s very nice to see how these artists tried to find a unique style or even, like Picasso when experimenting with caricature painting, trying to reinvent themselves.

Japanese Posters

After a short break we found the Japanse Posters room, a really inspiring room full of posters that showcases Japanese design through the years. What’s especially interesting is that these are truly contemporary pieces that could still be valid nowadays.

Abstract, Op- and Pop art

Dropping down into the cellar, we found an interesting mix of some of our favourite abstract artists like Kandinsky, Corneille, van Doesburg, Lichtenstein and even Dieter Rams! How abstract can you go while still being able to tell what you want to tell? How can you keep it as simple as possible?

For me, it feels that Kandinsky’s and van Doesburg’s abstract art, the simplicity and functionalism of Dieter Rams or even Wim Crouwel’s graphical work share much of the same principles. It’s all about focusing on getting the message across using only the bare essentials. The fastest way from A to B is a straight line…

I relate much of the work that we’ve seen here today to the User Experience design state that we are in nowadays. We are focusing on the bare essentials so we’re not overloading the user with information or distracting them from their goals.

No items found.

A very inspirational day at the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam which inspired us greatly. I encourage everybody to visit a museum every now and then. We will do our best to make the learnings from Wim Crouwel and other artists reflect through our digital product design work that we are doing for our clients. Our next stop? Who knows…Do you have any cool suggestions? Please let us know in the comments.

This blog was written by

Remco Bakker


Nov 4, 2019

Graphic Design