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Bram de Does

Bram de Does is best known internationally as a type designer, and the influence of his Trinité and Lexicon on younger designers is undeniable. Hans Peter Willberg, Jost Hochuli, Walter Nikkels and others have used his typefaces for ambitious publications, such as collected works and encyclopedias. Cambridge University Press, for instance, has set many books in his Lexicon. In the Netherlands his Trinité is one of the most popular typefaces in the literary circuit and Lexicon is here particularly known as the body type of the quality paper NRC Handelsblad.

In the spring of 2003 the Dutch public television channel broadcast the documentary Systematisch slordig (Systematically sloppy), which concentrated on his private life. Except for a short interruption, De Does worked exclusively for Joh. Enschedé. This famous Haarlem graphics company previously employed typographers such as Jan van Krimpen and Sem Hartz. De Does designs for Enschedé include the jubilee volume Typefoundries in the Netherlands (1978), his typographic magnum opus.

He has won many awards not only for his type designs, but also for his book typography, including a Goldene Letter in Leipzig, the Premio Felice Feliciano and the prestigious H.N. Werkmanprijs of the city of Amsterdam. Since his retirement bibliophile editions issued by his private press, the Spectatorpers, appear frequently; these can often be found in the Dutch catalogues of The best book designs. In his work he emphatically takes tradition as a starting point, but arrives at his own personal solutions. His typography and text types are certainly classical but never “traditional” or dogmatic.

Bram de Does: typographer & type designer (De Buitenkant, 2003), edited by Mathieu Lommen, is the first substantial publication devoted to his life and work. His work in book and type design is here placed in its context. After an introduction by De Does himself and the main texts by Lommen and John A. Lane, this monograph includes seven short contributions by internationally prominent book designers on Trinité and Lexicon in their design practice. It also includes an extensive bibliography.

Note: The above text was supplied by Mathieu Lommen.


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