Els Kuijpers
nai010 Publishers, Rotterdam, 2011, English (originally published in Dutch)
Nonfiction, Graphic Design
10.6 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches, paperback, 128 pages
ISBN: 9789064507205
Suggested Retail Price: $38.35

From the Publisher. The role played by R.D.E. (‘’Ootje”) Oxenaar in the development of Dutch graphic design is a fascinating one. In 1970 he joined the Department of Art and Design at what was then the Dutch Postal and Telecommunications Service (PTT). He was deputy head from then until 1976, when he took over as head of the department until 1994. It would be hard to overstate his importance as one of the key public principals of Dutch graphic design in those years. That success can be attributed to Oxenaar’s own visual production from the early 1950s onward, and the position this earned him in the design field as a front-rank graphic designer. It enabled him to enlist the services at the PTT of many a prominent designer. This book relates these two capacities as the commissioning and the commissioned party by assessing precisely how graphic design functions in the community. In so doing, it does justice to the exceptional personal talent of the designer-artist Oxenaar as well as to the particular cultural and socioeconomic circumstances that helped to inform his career. It therefore avoids the one-sidedness of either a formalist or a determinist approach to Oxenaar’s visual production. Accordingly, this book is simultaneously a potted history of Dutch graphic design and its turbulent development into a primary creative industry of significance during the 50 years since World War II.

On 2 book lists
Rick Poynor

For admirers of Dutch graphic design, the new monograph about R.D.E. (“Ootje”) Oxenaar is a treat. Already successful as a designer, at 40 he joined the Dutch Postal and Telecommunications Service where he became a national champion of excellent design. Els Kuijpers’s text is exhaustively researched and intellectually satisfying. Jan van Toorn and Mart Rozenbeek’s design packs in a huge portfolio of visual material with no sense of strain. Graphic design history needs more studies like this.

Tiana Vasiljev

Anyone with a love for Dutch design will be fascinated by Ootje Oxenaar's latest monograph. A key public principal of Dutch graphic design, his portfolio of work is phenomenal. The publication showcases decades of brilliant design work along with Kuijpers’s wonderfully documented text. With a collection of hundreds of images and photographs, Oxenaar's intelligent and innovative works are once again given new light. Ootje Oxenaar: Designer + Commissioner will delight and surprise every designer lucky enough to get the chance to read it.

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