23-09-2019

New typography for Kunstmuseum Den Haag

New logo to be revealed in exhibition

A selection of fonts designed by Typotheque in the last 20 years

Our official change of name is imminent. Next month we will launch our new visual identity, the most important element of which is the new typographic logo designed by Peter Biľak. As a prelude to the big reveal, the museum will be giving a glimpse of what the public can expect with an exhibition of work by Biľak and his studio Typotheque. The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday 28 September, though it will not quite be complete by then. The new logo for Kunstmuseum Den Haag will be added when it is officially revealed on 1 October.

In the exhibition, Hague-based designer Peter Biľak will reveal how he works. It will include the first sketches for the new typeface in the logo, and a small cross-section of work by Typotheque, the studio that Biľak has run with Johanna Biľak and Nikola Djurek since 1999. Their clients include international companies like Facebook, Google, Mozilla, Vienna International Airport and the Paris metro.

‘Every typeface has a voice’

Biľak has been fascinated by the ‘personality’ of typefaces ever since he studied at the art academy in Bratislava. ‘Like people, typefaces all have their own character, and give words and language a certain voice’, he explains. ‘They embody meanings that go further than simply the design of the printed material. A typeface can express ideals and subtle emotions, whisper things between the lines.’

Collaborating with dancer and choreographer Lukas Timulak, Biľak and his studio Typotheque also bring their designs to life – literally – in a remarkable mix of dance, music, graphic design and technology. The exhibition will include film of two of their choreographies, plus footage never seen before featuring interdisciplinary dance performances for the Royal Ballet in Stockholm and the National Theatre in Brno.

New typographic logo

The idea for the new typographic logo for Kunstmuseum Den Haag came from the museum’s collection of graphic works. Biľak drew inspiration from the typography of the 1920s and 30s, the period when the museum was designed and built by architect H.P. Berlage. This was a period of great innovation in art and design, when designers, artists and architects shook off the decorative forms of the nineteenth century. Typographers introduced simple sans-serif typefaces that reflected the new age. The experiments were an international trend, but several Dutch designers played a pioneering role. They included Piet Zwart (1885-1977), Gerard Kiljan (1891-1968) and Paul Schuitema (1897-1973). Inspired by Russian constructivists, they set out to find new forms of expression in words and images. Their work – often referred to as New Typography – is well represented in the museum’s collection.

Typotheque – What You Hear When You Read will be on show from 28 September to 3 November 2019.