Dutch Type — Finally, the reprint
• ANOTHER UPDATE •
Thanks again to all who made this possible! After reaching our (minimum) goal within a day (!!!), the support kept growing slowly but steadily. It’s good to have some padding, because the minimum was very modest, and the costs of packing and shipping, and the VAT which I will pay when necessary, will be considerable.
Whatever profit I will make will hopefully go into the somewhat experimental follow-up to the book, possibly titled 21st Century Dutch Type. The plan is to make a book per year, which will in fact be be more like a magazine, with a diversity of article formats and perhaps different authors. We’ll keep you posted, if that’s allowed.
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Between 1997 and 2003 I worked on Dutch Type, a unique and carefully documented overview of type design and lettering from the Netherlands.
Following a concise summary of the first 400+ years of Dutch type, the bulk of the book is a broad panorama of the creation of letterforms and printing types in the 20th century, with almost half the book dedicated to the digital age.
Dutch Type was published in March 2004 and was received with huge enthusiasm. Its 3,500 copies sold out in 3 years. The book soon became hard to find and ended up being offered at embarrassingly high prices on Amazon and eBay – from 500 € to $ 1,200 for a copy. For various practical reasons an update was postponed forever.
Why reprint the original edition?
Dutch Type is enjoyed for its attractive combination of historic research, storytelling, type analysis and pure eye candy. Some information is well-known to specialists, but quite a bit was new when the book came out. The books has ardent fans. In May 2018, leading type and identity designer Erik Spiekermann wrote:
“The best book about any type anywhere, ever. Really.”
… adding this friendly advice: “Get 2 copies: they make perfect gifts.” Reprinting the 2004 edition, with some necessary corrections, from the original Quark XPress files, seemed the most efficient way to help out scholars, librarians and students who searched book shops off- and online — and often turned away at the $500-plus pricing.
Diana on Dutch Type: “A sort of Holy Grail”
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So, here is the book, reprinted at the same printing company as the first edition. For the prepress I will be assisted by two Argentinian type designer friends who live and work in the Netherlands — Ramiro Espinoza and Paula Mastrangelo, who will revive the moulded Quark XPress files. The design remains what it was — the elegant and practical design by Peter Verheul and Bart de Haas, using Peter’s Versa type family.
Dutch Type will be reprinted with the same care and craftsmanship as the original 2004 edition — by the same printer, De Keure in Bruges, Belgium. It will be published by Druk Editions, Jan’s own imprint in Ghent and Berlin, whose first and last book was 2000’s first edition of Lettered, the award-winning book on Belgian designer Clotilde Olyff.
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Reading a borrowed copy of Dutch Type 1.0
Young British designer Luke Charsley has been accepted as a KABK Type and Media student 2018-’19. He describes his fascination with Dutch letterforms, and how he got lucky by being able to borrow a copy of the untraceable book. “Highly recommended.”
Reviewed in Eye magazine
[…] Jan Middendorp’s book about the development of Dutch type is a must. It took him seven years of extensive and thorough research to complete the book and he is a smooth operator. From 1997 to the end of 2003 he moved quietly through the offices of Dutch type designers, graphic designers and other places, where he listened, asked questions and collected information. The result is a 320-page 1.5kg book, packed with colour illustrations, that gives a full picture of the Dutch type design scene.
Reading the book is a little like travelling along a great river of type, and it has a structure to match. It starts off telling the story of the past at a rapid pace but as it comes closer to the present, the stream of information widens, and the tempo of the book slows down, to end in a wide delta of contemporary Dutch typeface designers.
[…] A book with ‘Dutch’ in its title is timely. It is going to become increasingly hard to keep Dutch type Dutch when type designers are using the same software to produce their fonts for the various media and when exchange is a key word. Think about the Web, email, or printed matter flying to other continents. All kinds of cross-connections with other foreign type designers will make the national rivers end in a huge body of water. But that is the future, and this book is the present.
If you haven’t already gone out and bought this book, my advice to you is do so straight away. I have just one piece of advice to those who own the book: dive into it.
Chris Vermaas in Eye 52
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Risks and challenges
Why didn’t it happen before?
Printing one edition too many is any publisher’s fear — a profitable project can turn into a loss leader with one all-too optimistic decision. It is the main reason for which publishers often shy away from 2nd editions, and books are shelved. When Dutch Type sold out a few years after its original publication, who could guarantee that there’d be 3,000 more buyers to justify a second printing? But this is almost 15 years later and I’ve often heard laments about the book being untraceable or forbiddingly high-priced. I have good hopes the crowd of letter lovers longing for a copy of the original Dutch Type will be big enough to fund it! Thanks.
- (40 days)