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Dutch Graphic Roots

Photo archive Henk Gianotten – Gerard Unger

By 17-08-2020

ONE WEEK ABOUT photo archive Henk Gianotten by curator Henk Gianotten

This week Henk Gianotten is going to show a number of pictures of designers who were the subject in Roots (Dutch Graphic Roots), a series of publications that aims at generating attention to the post-war generation of Dutch graphic designers. Today Gerard Unger.

I have made a total of 50 portraits of The Netherlands’ best letter designer. I used to cooperate with him and have written extensively about his work. He is also widely regarded as one of the nicest designers. He deserved his fame as a teacher at various training institutes. He obtained his PhD in Leiden at a later age and he was a professor at several universities. He started as a graphic designer, later specialized as a letter designer and wrote several books on letter design. His most famous letters are the Swift, Vesta and Alverata.

Photo 1: Gerard Unger at the introduction of his Roots cahier at the BNO in Amsterdam. His wife Marjan Unger was an art historian. Both died in 2018.
Photo 2: Designers who came to congratulate Gerard. From left to right, Martin Majoor, Petr van Blokland and Max Kisman.
Photo 3: Wim Crouwel was also present at the time. He died in 2019.
Photo 4: Anthon Beeke was another one of the many visitors who came to congratulate Gerard. Anthon died in 2018.

About curator Henk W. Gianotten
Henk Gianotten (1940) received a graphic-technical training and worked at several foreign printing companies before joining letter manufacturer Lettergieterij Amsterdam as a technician. He was among other things involved in the production and  licensing of letters for photographic moves in the seventies. As marketing manager at Tetterode he was in1985 responsible for the introduction of PostScript as a page description language and played an important role in the introduction of DTP techniques to graphic companies, advertising studios and designers. In the 1990s he introduced color management in our country based on the Linocolor system which is still the basis of the current ICC color profile technology and is among others used for color standards for image presentation on paper and on screen. From 2000 to 2010 he was a consultant and worked for international companies such as Linotype and trade associations such as CMBO and BNO. In 2003 he was awarded the Graphic Culture Prize by BNO and others as an appreciation for the part he played as a mediator between the designers and the graphic industry.

Henk wrote hundreds of columns and articles for trade magazines such as BNO-Vormberichten, De Boekenwereld, Items, Graphic, Graphic News, Printmatters and Publish and still writes contributions for various digital media. In the past 20 years he has written more than 100 extensive articles for 3 typographical journals about letter- designers and the fonts they have produced. In addition, Henk has from the beginning been involved with “De Favorieten” (“The Favorites”), a group of enthusiastic friends of design who nearly always cooperated altruistically to enable various projects of [Z]OO productions. Henk still advises graphic designers and takes pictures at meetings of e.g. “Type Amsterdam”, BNO and Roots. We also regularly use this visual material in DDD editions. This week Henk is going to show a number of pictures of designers who were the subject in the Roots series.

Read the complete Roots article about Henk Gianotten on