Bram de Does (Amsterdam, 1934 – Orvelte, 2015) studied asymmetrical typography when he was at the Amsterdam Graphics School in the 1950’s. ‘This fact’, he once said, ‘was reason enough for me to think: I’m going to do it in a symmetrical way in order to be obstreperous and original.’ The fact that he chose to study a practical skill, considering his high pre-education, was remarkable. After leaving the Graphic School he became employed at Joh. Enschede en Zonen in Haarlem as ‘typographic caretaker’. With the exception of a small interruption, he was employed at Enschedé until 1988.

Bram de Does’s most noteworthy book for Enschedé, is Charles Enschedé’s Typefoundries in the Netherlands (1978). At this time only a company like Enschedé company could produce such an extensive work in letterpress, to such a high standard of quality. The title-page, set in centred and well-spaced Romanée capitals, is a tour de force. In the printing office people called De Does ‘puntje in, puntje uit’ which roughly translates as ‘a little bit more, a little bit less’. Without doubt he is a conservative book typographer, working in the tradition of Jan van Krimpen. He regards his use of capital with lowercase on title-page and cover, along with his use of ornaments, as his ‘modernism’.

Under the imprint Spectatorpers he publishes books which he has designed, set by hand and printed in letterpress. He loves the sense of independence and the total control he has over production. Often he uses Van Krimpen’s Romanée typeface or other historic typefaces from the Enschede collection. In 1993 he received the Premio Felice Feliciano award for his Spectatorpers publication ‘The Steadfast tin soldier’.

De Does is more important as a type designer. In 1982 his Trinité typeface was released, and it was awarded the H.N. Werkman Prize in 1991. Trinité, generally characterized as subtle and elegant, was designed to be an all-purpose typeface. He also wrote a candid essay about the backgrounds of this Enschedé bookface called Romanée en Trinité. Historisch origineel en systematisch slordig (1991). Trinité gained real popularity when it was released as PostScript font. In 1995 Enschedé released another De Does typeface: Lexicon. A pre-release version of Lexicon was used to set the 1991 edition of Van Dale’s Groot woordenboek der Nederlandse taal. Lexicon is a highly versatile design and it has all the virtues to become a new Times New Roman.

Mathieu Lommen, Typokalender,
Rosbeek 39, 1995