TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Sat Mar 23 10:02:36 EDT 2019






De Amsterdamse Krulletter [Ramiro Espinoza]

In English, Amsterdam's curly letter. While doing a revival / interpretation of this style in his Krul typeface (2012), Ramiro Espinoza tells the story of this style, so I will reproduce excerpts:

Krul is a typographic interpretation of the lettering style created by Dutch letter painter Jan Willem Joseph Visser at the end of the 1940s, which decorated the traditional brown bars of Amsterdam. In the beginning, these letters were strongly associated with the pubs connected to the Amstel brewery, given that Visser was the company's official painter. As the years passed, the style became increasingly popular, and various business owners in Amsterdam and other Dutch and Belgian cities also commissioned its use. In the 1970s and 1980s, Leo Beukeboom, another talented letter painter, continued and expanded this lettering tradition while employed under the Heineken brand. Much of his work can still be found in the Jordaan and De Pijp neighborhoods in Amsterdam.

The Amsterdamse Krulletter, or Amsterdam's curly letter, is strongly inspired by the calligraphic works of the 17th century Dutch writing masters, of which Jan van den Velde was a central figure. However, distinct characteristics of this style, for example, its unusual and beautiful "g" originate from a model that was published by Johannes Heuvelman in 1659, which J. W. J. Visser referenced.

Typographic circles have somehow overlooked the Amsterdamse Krulletter and its heritage. The Dutch calligraphic hands preceded and influenced the formal English penmanship which has inspired numerous typefaces in the Copperplate style. In contrast, the models from van den Velde, Heuvelman, and Jean de la Chambre, among others, are a missing chapter in Dutch typographic history, and had never been turned into typefaces until now.

He continues about his own typeface Krul: Conscious of the cultural and identity issues that arise in reviving a unique style, and concerned about the speed with which the lettering style was disappearing, Ramiro Espinoza focused the project of designing Krul on digitally recreating the calligraphic complexity of these beautiful letters. Created through several years of research, Krul is not a direct digitization of the Amsterdamse Krulletter, but instead, an interpretation that incorporates numerous alternative characters absent in the original model, and improves upon details where necessary, resulting in an optimal performance on the printed page. The typeface is presented in Open Type format, with an abundance of intricate ligatures, fleurons, and swashes, which permit the creation of numerous calligraphic effects. The very high contrast and rhythm of the strokes in this typeface make it especially suited for media applications conveying a sense of elegance and sophistication. Designers of feminine magazines, advertisements, and corporate identities within the fragrance and fashion industries will find in this typeface to be an extremely useful and appropriate resource. The great Amsterdamse Krulletter is finally back, and we are proud to make it available to you. Krul can be purchased at ReType.

At ATypI 2013 in Amsterdam, Ramiro explained his work on the Krulletter. Still in 2013, Rob Becker and Ramiro Espinoza coauthored Amsterdamse Krulletter. In 2015, they published The Curly Letter of Amsterdam (Uitgeverij Lecturis, Eindhoven and Amsterdam).

De Amsterdamse Krulletter
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Dutch type design ⦿ Calligraphic typefaces ⦿ Books on type design ⦿ Curly typefaces ⦿

file name: Rob Becker Ramiro Espinoza Amsterdamse Krulletter Book Cover 2013

file name: Ramiro Espinoza Krul 2012

file name: Ramiro Espinoza Krul 2012b

file name: Ramiro Espinoza Krul 2012c

Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html