Hansje van Halem

Dutch graphic designer Hansje van Halem (1978) started her Amsterdam-based studio in 2003. Specialised in typography and book design, she creates alphabets, textures and patterns, both digitally and manually. Hansje keeps track of a dizzying array of commissioned, applied, self-generated, rejected and unfinished sketches, type drawings, motifs and experiments (both successes and failures). Unused material often becomes a source from which Hansje draws further inspiration.

“Drawing (type) experiments started as something I’d do in between deadlines for book designs. I called it a hobby. I started to receive commissioned assignments based upon the detailed alphabet drawings. Drawing has more to do with systems, structures and textures than it does with letter shapes. Making a collection of letters seemed like a legitimate way to spend my time: an investment in a collection of drawings that I could later on use as content. The tension between a systematic approach, legibility and (ir)regularity are appealing to me. I find it equally interesting to only draw the textures and end up with patterns. These patterns are often used as end papers in hardcover books. I find repetitive work soothing. It calms me down and allows me some time to think about other things while being productive at the same time.”