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Pieter Brattinga 

Sarah Schrauwen 

Kwadraat–Bladen: a series of graphic experiments (1955-1974) is the first English language book about a revolutionary publishing venture founded by Dutch graphic designer Pieter Brattinga.

A kwadraat-blad (Dutch for square sheet) was a sort of journal for graphic design, visual art, literature, architecture and music, published by Pieter Brattinga in irregular intervals between 1955 and 1974. The kwadraat-bladen were produced in the printing firm owned by Brattinga's family (he was of the third generation to work for the firm) to prove that they had become the best offset printing firm, at least in the Netherlands. The series is incredibly innovative – they used every known printing technique, and the only thing that all 35 issues have in common is their format: 25x25cm (hence the name).

Wim Crouwel wrote the foreword to the book: 'Looking at the Kwadraat–Bladen series, it is the variety that first attracts our attention. This was a direct reflection of Pieter himself; he had a lively spirit and an unusual sense of humour.'

Cover of Kwadraat–Bladen by Unit Editions

Pieter Brattinga with his poster designs, photographed in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, ca. 1967. Photograph by Philip Mechanicus/MAI.

Brattinga's own Kwadraat-Blad, entitled Cijfer, was designed by him in 1971. It is a slick, white cardboard box measuring 25x25cm, containing reproductions of till receipts from various cities around the world, for instance Bern, Rome and New York. The receipts are printed on papers in different colours with numbers, digits, letters and codes. What does it all mean?

Kwadraat–Blad 32: Cijfer

Contents of Brattinga's Kwadraat–Blad

All of the boxes were numbered, the issue shown here is no.1396. 

Detail of the till receipt reproductions

Back of the lid with text in four languages

Kwadraat–Bladen: a series of graphic experiments (1955-1974)

Essay: Dingenus van de Vrie
Foreword: Wim Crouwel
Editors: Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook

144 pages
ISBN 978-0-9562071-5-9
Published: February 2012


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