Spring 2019

Hard-working hooligans

Hard Werken: One for All 1979-1994

By Ian Horton and Bettina Furnée. Designed by 75B. Valiz Publishing with Stichting Kunstpublicaties Rotterdam, €35

Scan the pages of recent graphic design history, and its coverage of the rule-breaking mantras that enraptured the field in the 1980s and 90s, and you find several traces of Hard Werken, the interdisciplinary design studio and magazine. The ‘core’ group – Willem Kars, Kees de Gruiter, Tom van den Haspel, Gerard Hadders, Rick Vermeulen and Henk Elenga – who had studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts, in subjects that ranged from painting to advertising, registered the Hard Werken studio as a commercial entity in 1980, a year after they launched the first issue of Hard Werken magazine. In the following fourteen years, Hard Werken produced some of the most enthralling graphic design in Europe, epitomised by their 1981 poster for ‘China: Life and Work’, in which a cut-out figure, dazzling pattern and riotous typography compete in a typically crude assemblage …

Cover of Hard Werken: One for All 1979–1994.

Top. Spread showing Hard Werken’s designs for Bert Bakker publishers and Museum Journaal, alongside an ad for Hard Werken T-shirts.

31. EYE_9815753

Alex J. Todd, design historian and writer, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 98 vol. 25, 2019


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 98 looks like at Eye Before You Buy on Vimeo.

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