Nina Paim (common-interest) — Are Women the Natural Enemies of Books?

This lecture will be in English.

As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be ordered here:

The title of this talk refers to the eponymous 1937 article by American author Anne Lyon Haight, which draws a history of notable women bibliophiles. Nowadays, book publishing is rarely regarded as a ‘gentlemanly trade’, but it might come as a surprise to learn that women in publishing outnumber men by far. Currently, 78% of the American book publishing industry is staffed by women. However, as in most other fields, a gender pay gap persists, and very few of the top executive positions are filled by women. In 2017, the Guardian reported that the ‘higher echelons [of the publishing trade] are becoming as white, male and middle class as in other industries.’ In this talk, common-interest will discuss women’s role in this changing industry, by tracing women’s struggles in publishing through the second half of the twentieth century, focusing on the art, design, and architecture book trade.

Nina Paim is a Brazilian designer, researcher and curator who lives and works in Basel. She lectures extensively, and has curated numerous exhibitions, workshops and events, most notably Taking a Line for a Walk at the 2014 Biennial of Graphic Design Brno, and Department of Non-Binaries at the 2018 Fikra Design Biennial in Sharjah. In 2016, she co-conceived and edited Taking a Line for a Walk, published by Spector Books Leipzig. In 2018, she co-founded with Corinne Gisel the non-profit design research practice common-interest.

Sara De Bondt with Rob Buytaert & Herman Lampaert — Exhibition Tour

This event will be in Dutch.

As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be ordered here:

For this guided tour, the exhibition’s curator Sara De Bondt is joined by graphic designers Herman Lampaert and Rob Buytaert, who will discuss their work on display.

Sara De Bondt is a graphic designer, teacher and curator based in Ghent. A member of AGI, she is founding co-director of the non-profit publisher Occasional Papers, and lectures internationally on her practice and research.

Herman Lampaert is a Brussels-based graphic designer, teacher and author of the graphic design history survey in In koeien van letters: 50 years of graphic design in Flanders (1997).

Rob Buytaert is a graphic designer and teacher based in Antwerp, co-founder of Design-Team (1969-1979).

James Langdon — Isomorphs

This lecture will be in English.

As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be ordered here:

There is a contemporary consensus that graphic design should have something to do with its content. Historically speaking, this was not always the case. Even 50 or 60 years ago, prominent European designers idealised generic page layouts and typefaces intended to be suitable for any and all content. But, for now at least, we seem to agree that it’s good to make design decisions with respect to content. James Langdon will talk about examples of graphic design that go much further than this, and make relations with the content — by technical, material, or graphic means — that are so absurdly specific as to make them practically illegible.

James Langdon is an independent graphic designer, writer and professor in communication design at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. Since 2004, he has worked closely with many artists designing publications and exhibitions. From 2008 to 2018 he was a founding director of the artist-run contemporary art space Eastside Projects in Birmingham. He is presently working on a biography of English designer and teacher Norman Potter, and is a PhD candidate at RMIT University in Melbourne.

Sara Kaaman (Girls Like Us & MMS) — Paper Food Rooms

This lecture will be in English.

As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be ordered here:

This talk is a walk through some historical spaces and methods of feminist publishing, rooms (pages) of hope and desire. Looking at – and dreaming of – printed matter produced as / for transformation and coming-together, and how fragile paper objects can create new possibilities and ways of being in the world. The materiality of print meets the materiality of our bodies and we will be surrounded by tender captions, margins, ads, footnotes…

Sara Kaaman is a graphic designer based in Stockholm, Sweden, interested in the politics and poetry of publishing on screen and paper. She is the graphic designer, and co-editor with Jessica Gysel, Katja Mater and Marnie Slater, of the Brussels-based magazine Girls Like Us. With Maryam Fanni and Matilda Flodmark she forms the research collective MMS, researching the historiography of graphic design from feminist perspectives. She is Senior Lecturer of Graphic Design and co-directs the BA program with Catherine Anyango Grünewald at Konstfack University of Art, Craft & Design in Stockholm.

Richard Hollis — Henry van de Velde: The Artist As Designer

This lecture will be in English.

As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be ordered here:

A series of public events accompanying the exhibition Off the Grid, organised by the staff and teachers of Graphic Design at KASK – School of Arts Gent.

To mark the launch of his newly published biography Henry van de Velde: The Artist as Designer (Occasional Papers, 2019), Richard Hollis will explain why Van de Velde is important to him as a designer. He will focus on the Arts and Crafts Movement's lasting influence on Van de Velde and he will discuss some of the objects in the Design Museum Gent collection that relate to Van de Velde’s intrepid life and ideas.

One of the most inspiring figures of 20th-century Modernism, Henry van de Velde’s career is rife with paradoxes. Before turning to design and architecture, his paintings were influenced by the ‘scientific’ ideas of line and colour adopted by Seurat. Yet he thought that mankind’s ‘most noble power’ was energy, which he believed could be expressed by line in ornament. At the same time, he admired engineering structures that depended on iron and steel. As a designer under the influence of the English Arts and Crafts, he faced the choice of either creating a new style that would bring about a new society, or waiting until social reform had been achieved before pioneering a new aesthetic.

Richard Hollis is a British graphic designer, teacher and writer. He designed the quarterly journal Modern Poetry in Translation, was the art editor of the weekly New Society and designed the original edition of John Berger’s iconic Ways of Seeing. In the late 1960s and early 1980s he created the visual identity for the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. He is the author of such notable books on graphic design history as Graphic Design. A Concise History (2001), Swiss Graphic Design: The Origins and Growth of an International Style, 1920-1965 (2006) and About Graphic Design (2012).

Jan Ceuleers, Hilde Pauwels, Jean-Michel Meyers & Hugo Puttaert — On the Grid: Designers Remembered

This event will be in Dutch.

As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be ordered here:

Prominent graphic designers, scholars and writers come together to discuss the life and work of some of the designers exhibited in Off the Grid. The event will culminate with a roundtable discussion about some of the legacies of post-war Belgian graphic design.

Jan Ceuleers studied philosophy and is an antiquarian, curator and author, specialised in the Belgian avant-garde. He will talk about Corneille Hannoset’s work for Marcel Broodthaers, the Galeries Aujourd’hui and the Musée du Cinema among other commissions.

Jean-Michel Meyers is a graphic designer based in Antwerp, and archivist of the Fonds Lucien De Roeck. He will share details about the life and work of his grandfather, Lucien De Roeck, during the 1960s and 1970s.

Hilde Pauwels studied philosophy and is a translator and a teacher. From 1975, she was the partner and occasional collaborator of Jean-Jacques Stiefenhofer (1943-2013), whose work she will discuss.

Hugo Puttaert is a graphic designer, teacher and editor. He will chair the concluding panel discussion on design legacies.

Gerard Herman & Phantom Radio — Talking Letterheads

This event will be in English, French and Dutch.

As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be ordered here:

Tune in to Phantom Radio (91.0 FM) or drop by the Design Museum’s Vitrine space (Drabstraat) for a marathon of radio interviews with contemporary Belgian graphic designers, hosted by Gerard Herman.

Gerard Herman is an artist based in Antwerp who creates installations, animation films, soundscapes and printed matter.

Phantom Radio is a nomadic radio station by Ine Meganck and Valentijn Goethals, originally conceived in collaboration with Paul Elliman as an unconventional space for students, designers, musicians and artists to parasitize the airwaves together. Ine Meganck is a graphic designer and Valentijn Goethals is an artist and artistic coordinator of Kunsthal Gent. 

Participating designers: Atelier Brenda, atelier Haegeman Temmerman, Paul Boudens, Geoffrey Brusatto, Goda Budvytytė, Michaël Bussaer & Jef Cuypers, Ines Cox, D-E-A-L, Sara De Bondt, Manuela Dechamps Otamendi, Luc Derycke, Thomas Desmet, Jan & Randoald, Mads Freund Brunse, Loraine Furter, Tom Hautekiet, Ward Heirwegh, Will Holder, Oliver Ibsen, Alexis Jacob, Inge Ketelers, Joris Kritis, Roxanne Maillet, Ine Meganck & Chloé D’hauwe, Julie Peeters, Josse Pyl, Bas Rogiers, Ronny & Johny, ruttens-wille, Amina Saâdi, Specht Studio, Triangle Books, Caroline Wolewinski.

Katarina Serulus, Katrien Vanhaute & Jo De Baerdemaeker — History Class

These lectures will be in Dutch and English.

As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be ordered here:

Eminent graphic design historians share their latest research on histories of Belgian graphic design. The event will end with a roundtable discussion about where graphic design history research should go next.
Jo De Baerdemaeker on the history of typography in Belgium, under the title Typo Belgiëque; Katarina Serulus about graphic design and Belgian club culture between 1970 and 2000; and Katrien Van Haute on the design philosophy behind selected modernist graphic design pieces.

Jo De Baerdemaeker is an independent Belgian typeface designer and researcher. He holds an MA in Typeface Design and a PhD from the University of Reading. His interests are designing, researching and writing about world script typefaces (particularly Tibetan, Lantsa, Mongolian and Javanese) and multilingual typography. He is a regular speaker at international conferences.

Katarina Serulus studied art history and design cultures at KU Leuven and VU Amsterdam. In 2016, she defended her PhD thesis at the University of Antwerp, entitled Design & Politics: The Public Promotion of Industrial Design in Post-war Belgium (1950-1986), which was published in 2018 by Leuven University Press. 

Katrien Van Haute, PhD, is specialised in the origins of graphic design in Belgium in the first half of the 20th century. She teaches at LUCA School of Arts, Ghent.

Sara De Bondt is a graphic designer, teacher and curator and will chair the concluding panel about design history today.


Design Museum Gent
Jan Breydelstraat 5, 9000 Gent

This is… a series of events organised as part of the exhibition Off the Grid: Belgian Graphic Design from the 1960s and 1970s, as seen by Sara De Bondt at Design Museum Gent (25.10.2019 – 16.02.2020)

All events take place in the exhibition space (except Talking Letterheads) and are free of charge with a museum entrance ticket. As places are limited, reservations are strongly recommended.

Organised by Sara De Bondt together with Dirk Deblauwe, Thomas Desmet, Ronny Duquenne, Arthur Haegeman, Julie Peeters, Stéphane De Schrevel and Jeroen Wille.

Funded by the HOGENT Arts Research Fund.

Design: Jordy Philips
Programming: Sébastien Bovie
Stickers designed by: Joram De Cocker, Beau Deneef, Charlotte Fraeye, Arno Huygens, Lore Janssens, Zoé Pecqueux, Jordy Philips and Laura Martens