Hard Werken: The designer as author. Symposium on the legacy of Hard Werken (1979-1994)

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17 May 2018

Thursday 17 May
Lecture Theatre C 

Free and open to all.
Please RSVP via Eventbrite.


The designer as Author: A SYMPOSIUM ON THE LEGACY OF HARD WERKEN (1979-1994)

To celebrate the publication of Hard Werken: One for All by the Dutch publisher Valiz this symposium will examine Hard Werken’s contribution to fields of design and culture with a focus on the idea of the ‘designer as author’. From the outset the Dutch design studio Hard Werken occupied a position between design and fine art and between 1979 and 1982 their self-published cultural magazine Hard Werken promoted contemporary art practices and was itself an example of graphic authorship by communicating more through its design than its content. This symposium takes their DIY-mentality and their interdisciplinary position between design, authorship and cultural entrepreneurship as a starting point and asks what contemporary designers and artists can learn from the legacy of Hard Werken.


Dr Ian Horton, Bettina Furnée, Dr Russ Bestley and Tony Credland

The symposium will be followed by a book launch and drinks reception supported by Valiz.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Hard Werken: One for All—Graphic Art & Design 1979–1994 by Ian Horton and Bettina Furnée is the first major publication on the experimental Rotterdam-based design studio Hard Werken [Working Hard]. Hard Werken's anarchic design, smattering high with low culture and running contrary to typographic conventions and modernist currents of the time, characterized this group as a brash, elusive, and distinctly Rotterdam phenomenon. However, working in Rotterdam and Los Angeles, the core members Henk Elenga, Kees de Gruiter, Gerard Hadders, Tom van den Haspel, Willem Kars and Rick Vermeulen also had worldwide ambitions. This feisty and uncompromising book examines Hard Werken's practice and legacy in an international context and addresses their contemporary significance. It investigates the group’s pioneering role in the cultural life of Rotterdam and their impact abroad, especially the US, by examining the innovative aspects of Hard Werken's practice, which combined graphic and fine art languages. Designed by the Rotterdam design studio 75B the book contains a myriad of images and contextual insert texts by Russ Bestley, Max Bruinsma, Tony Credland, Frits Gierstberg and Noor Mertens.