In memory of Ben Bos (1930-2017)
Ben Bos died in the night of 3 to 4 January 2017.
Ben Bos was born in Amsterdam on August 27, 1930. In 1953 he joined furniture manufacturer Ahrend as a copywriter and a publicity assistant. He became interested in graphic design and first took a one-year evening course at the Amsterdam Graphic School and then a five-year evening course at the IvKNO (Gerrit Rietveld Academy). He graduated cum laude from both training colleges.
In addition to his full-time job at Ahrend, by then as an art director, Bos also worked for Wim Crouwel, one of his teachers at the IvKNO. “I felt very attracted to the Neue Graphik, a direction he adhered to very strongly and that stood for clarity, simplicity and clear structures in the organization of the material.”
In 1963, he joined the newly established design studio Total Design. He started as Chief Studio but soon discovered that it was better if he should lead his own design team. He specialized in editorial design and corporate identity and gradually developed his own design philosophy. In 25 years’ time his team realized about 120 house styles.
In 1991, by then a member 0f the management of Total Design, Bos left the design studio because he felt dissatisfied with the policy. After a short period as a design director at 2D3D he continued as a freelance designer, consultant and writer for other companies among which his old employer Ahrend. In 1992, on the initiative of Ben Bos, the Nederlands Archief Grafisch Ontwerpers (the Dutch Archives Graphic Designers) was founded (now merged into the Wim Crouwel Institute).
For a long time Ben Bos was a teacher at the Stichting Reclame & Marketing (Foundation Advertising & Marketing SRM), the Leidse Onderwijsinstellingen (Leiden Educational Institutions LOI) and the Verbond Nederlandse Ondernemingen VNO) (Confederation of Industry and Dutch Companies VNO). He was he one of the founders of the discipline Design Management at the Ichthus Hogeschool Rotterdam where he also taught (1996-2000).
In 1973 Ben Bos was awarded the Frans Duwaer Award by the City of Amsterdam. In 1978 he was selected for membership of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI). In 1998, he was declared an honorary member of the BNO.
Ben Bos published articles in the Dutch and international trade press. In 2000 the monograph Ben Bos – Design of a Lifetime appeared. In 2002 he published Huisstijl, de kern van de zaak and in 2011 TD 63–73: Total Design and its pioneering role in graphic design.
1954-1962 Copywriter, business journalist, art director and designer at Ahrend
1963-1991 Chief Studio, team leader and creative director at Total Design
1990-1991 Director Total Design Brussels
1991-1993 Design director at design studio 2D3D
1994- His own design practice: FORMatie2