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You are here: Home / Conferences / Antwerp 2018 / Programme

Telefont – the rise and fall of a typeface

When Sat 15 Sep 1630
Where Arenberg Theater
Who Martin Majoor
The 1994 design of the Dutch telephone book can partly be seen as a reaction to the iconic 1977 phonebook designed by the modernist Wim Crouwel with Jolijn van der Wouw. Crouwel’s late-modernist design, featuring the typeface Univers in lowercase-only text, had been christened “The New Ugly” by Dutch writers. In the following years, the original Crouwel design had been watered down considerably, and by the early 1990s, its usability had reached an all-time low. When Jan Kees Schelvis and Martin Majoor began their drastically renewed design of the phonebook, they set themselves a list of strict requirements: a new typeface, a better hierarchy, improved usability, and paper-saving typography. Majoor was responsible for both the new typeface (later named Telefont) as well as the book’s microtypography – an ideal situation for a typographer. In 2018, it was announced that the last telephone book had been published. The printed phonebook – including its custom-made typeface – from now on has literally become history! So now is the appropriate time to get an in-depth analysis of the design of the Telefont family and the typography of the book, by the designer himself.

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