Graphic Design and Typography


Type catalogue

This collection domain relates primarily to the industrial era, i.e. the period from circa 1830 onwards. It covers writing (calligraphy and type design) and the production and design of books, posters and other printing. The collection is internationally oriented collection and also includes secondary literature.

The basis for this collection domain was laid in 1958 with the acquisition of the Library of the Book Trade (Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak), an extremely broad collection on the history of the book focusing, among other things, on design and production. A major acquisition, in 1971, was the Typografische Bibliotheek (Typographical Library) of Lettergieterij Amsterdam, voorheen N. Tetterode (Type Foundry Amsterdam, formerly N. Tetterode). The core theme of this collection is the design and production of printed material, but it also contains archive material relating to fonts designed by Tetterode, including drawings by S.H. de Roos and Jan Tschichold. Besides specialist literature, the Typografische Bibliotheek also houses numerous unusual specimens: from woodcut to heliogravure and from Bodoni’s Manuale tipografico to illustrated corporate books.

Since the 1950s, the library has actively sought to acquire the archives of various designers and organisations. The acquisition of the archive of Jan van Krimpen was followed by those of Charles Jongejans, Atie Siegenbeek van Heukelom, Harry N. Sierman, Jan van Toorn and Irma Boom. This material covers a period of over a century.

What makes the design collections in the Special Collections so unique is their wide scope: technique as well as design, and high-profile designers as well as designers with a less conspicuous position in the history of the trade.


This collection domain is closely interwoven with the History of the Book Trade collection domain. The collection facilitates research into all aspects of the graphic industry.

Together with the Nederlands Archief van Grafisch Ontwerpers (NAGO, Netherlands Archive of Graphic Designers), the Special Collections form the Wim Crouwel Instituut, a centre for graphic design, typography and advertising. There is close collaboration with the research group for Book and Manuscript Studies.

Collection profile

  • Specially designed printed material: books and ephemeral printing such as calendars, posters and prints
  • Graphic archives, especially of designers
  • Industrial bindings
  • Calligraphy: specimens and sample books
  • Type designs and catalogues of types

Important collections


Published by  Special Collections UvA

22 August 2014