One of the strange anomalies of Ireland in the 1950s was the influx of great Dutch designers. For those of you who – like me – wondered why so many trendy Hollanders would leave Amsterdam for the dark, repressed Ireland of the 50s, you’ll get an insight into their thinking here in Oranje & Green: Holland - Ireland Design Connections 1951 - 2002 by Conor Clarke of Design Factory.
When the Dutch came to Ireland, they certainly made an impact as the author explained in a recent interview: “Many of them had been trained with Bauhaus principles and introduced the use of flat colours, sans serif typography and the grid. They also did unusual things like turn up on time for meetings, meet their deadlines and produce work of such a high standard that some would later remark that this work from the 1950s and '60s was probably 'the most notable graphic design ever produced in Ireland'.
The key figures from this period – figures that undoubtedly gave Irish advertising a continental perspective in terms of design – included: Guus Melai, Jan de Fouw, Bert van Embden, Willem van Velzen and Gerrit van Gelderen. And with Irish copywriters of the time starting to develop a distinct style, it all paved the way for a terrific period in Irish advertising.
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