My first book on graphic design history was ‘Ha, daar gaat er een van mij!’ (‘Hey, there goes one of mine!’, quotation marks part of the title). Commissioned by Stroom, the City of The Hague’s arts foundation, it came out in 2002 as part of a small series on the city’s art and design scene in the second half of the 20th century. The Museum of the Book proposed to put together an exhibition highlighting the book designers featured in my book. The preparation of the exhibition coincided with the final phase of writing and producing Dutch Type and preparing that book’s presentation. It was an intense period.
We condensed the book’s title to that happy exclamation, Ha!. Huug Schipper of Studio Tint, the book’s designer, also became a kind of sparring partner in putting together the exhibition. We received help, and borrowed some rare items, from retired designer-cum-researcher Dick Maan, whose information about the postwar Hague design scene had been invaluable in putting together the book.
Thanks to Dick Maan, we were able to invite a national celebrity to open the exhibition. In the early 1960s, Dick had done the graphic design for a comedy group called Cebrah. The company included Wim de Bie and Kees van Kooten, who would become famous as a comedy and satire duo on Dutch television, as well as authors of satiric best sellers. Dick and Wim, best friends back in the days, had been out of touch for a while; but Dick was kind enough to forward our request to Wim, who consented and gave a witty speech. The dinner afterwards, with Wim, Dick, Huug, and museum staff, was hilarious; Wim de Bie described it delightedly, under the thin veil of his usual fictionalization, on his blog Bieslog.