15 july 2011 — read more
Therefore I like tattoos

Recently Bas was asked about his inspiration. Here’s his answer:

Do you know the feeling, when a 15 year old Suzuki Vitara passes by and you then feel the desires and ambition of the driver? Directly I think: lives in a suburb, checkout of the local supermarket, sweet spouse, one child only, works in an office building close to the airport, subscribed to a sports magazine and you already hear 80’s music from his car radio, Guns N’ Roses, Sweet Child O’ Mine. In spite of the fact he prefers to drive a Porsche Cayenne, he likely once made pictures of his mud-stained Suzuki, his wife posing in front like a trophy.


Such a story flashes by in a split second. In this case the story arises in my head, another time the story actually happens in front of my nose, or somebody else made it up. It are these kind of stories which inspire me, in the broadest sense. A book, a documentary, a chat in the pub, and yes, also at the checkout in my local supermarket. Stories are everywhere, sometimes they are fascinating. When somebody brings his own suitcase with special golfballs while playing mini golf for example, that’s what you call dedication. Stories which make me wonder what inspires other people, those stories give me energy and new ideas. They force me to move my borders, to keep on developing myself.


At the same time I’m -as a type designer- fascinated by type. Or rather: language which becomes visible. In any kind. A fully smudged toilet door, a lovingly hand-painted shop-window or the neon letters of a sex videoshop. There is a catch behind all these letters, plus: they are beautiful to watch and observe. Something tangible remains, not just an image in your mind. Therefore I like tattoos. A lasting memory from a bigger story. Fairly often clichéd, but still… Why does someone for God’s sake tattoo his favourite football player all over his back*, while that player likely leaves* at the end of the season? And why does that drum ‘n’ bass label needs to be tattooed in a blackletter if their logo is in a geometric sans serif? Questions, questions.


Every now and then we receive a photo of our typefaces being used in a tattoo. This is the kind of stuff which makes me hot, and curious for their ‘why’. Here are some examples. Sarah Blake* asked us for some help to design a tattoo which should cover her burned arm. Her tattoo was intended to get over a nasty time of her life, ‘This too shall pass’. Last month* we received another example, Dolly Italic lowercase ‘a’ on an arm. Why? Shouldn’t they all go to a therapist instead of a tattooist? But at the same moment I feel a deep respect for those people, and wonder if it ain’t about time to get me a tattoo myself. But which text is a dignified daily memory, and doesn’t stunt my personal growth until I die? All these moments I realize that everything is temporary. Maybe that’s a good text for my tattoo: ‘Everything is temporary’.