Bram de Does: Type designer

Posted in Typography
at 2010.03.02
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Bram de Does, born in Amsterdam in 1934, is a graphic and type designer. De Does studied at the Amsterdamse Grafische School in the 1950’s. He came into contact with the printing trade at an early age, as his father had a printing office in the east of Amsterdam.

Bram de DoesBram de Does.

From 1958 to 1988 he worked, with several intervals, at Joh. Enschedé, a printing office in Haarlem. He worked there primarily as a book designer. De Does was asked by his employer to design a typeface, which was to become Trinité.

Trinite by Bram de DoesTrinité by Bram de Does.

After the release of Trinité, De Does held a lecture at the 1983 edition of ATypI. People had asked him when his next typeface would be released, and in his lecture he announced that there would be no new typefaces from his hand. According to him, he would not be able to design something significantly different from the Renaissance inspired roman like Trinité.

Trinite by Bram de DoesTrinité by Bram de Does.

In 1989 however, he was approached by the designer of the Van Dale dictionary, who wanted to test Trinité for use at 7pt. De Does suggested to specially design a new typeface instead. And so, ten years after Trinité, De Does designed his second serif typeface, Lexicon.


Lexicon typeface by Bram de Does.

The first rough drawings were made with a felt-tipped pen, and then photographically reduced to be able to judge the design at the right size. The editors of the dictionary were happy with the results, and accepted the offer to produce the typeface. De Does worked together with Peter Matthias Noordzij, who used Ikarus to digitize the drawings that De Does made.

The first version of 1992 was optimized for legibility at the point sizes that were used in the dictionary. The version that is published by The Enschedé Font Foundry was released in 1995. It is currently only available as a PostScript Type 1 font.

Lexicon by Bram de DoesLexicon by Bram de Does.

In 2003 a documentary about Bram de Does, called Systematisch slordig (roughly translates to systematically sloppy) was released. Here’s a little preview from the documentary (in Dutch):

More info:
Special Collections from the University of Amsterdam
Trinité on TEFF