Dick Dooijes was a pupil and assistant of Sjoerd de Roos, and succeeded him as artistic adviser of the famous Lettergieterij Amsterdam/Tetterode. He helped De Roos with the drawings of Nobel and Egmont, and Stefan Schlesinger with Rondo and Rondo Bold.
After the Second World War, Dooijes started designing his own roman typefaces. He finished the roman for Bronletter in 1949, but he was stopped from designing the complete family when the foundry’s management decided to go ahead with the American Columbia instead. Dooijes remained bitter about this decision all his life. Columbia was a commercial fiasco.
While Dooijes excelled in book design, he saw himself primarily as a type designer.
Dooijes’s first complete type family was Mercator in 1959, a replacement for Nobel, and clearly a contemporary of Helvetica and Univers — but overshadowed by their success. Contura (1965) was an outline face based on Bronletter, while his best type, Lectura (1969), was a serif to replace the failed Columbia. It was to be Dooijes’s last type — he was asked to become director of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, the main Dutch art school — but also the last design to come out of the old Lettergieterij Amsterdam.