Frank E. Blokland

About Frank E. Blokland

Frank E. Blokland (Leiden, 1959) studied Graphic and Typographic design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague from 1978 until 1982. As a student, he founded the working group Letters], from which have come many now well known Dutch typedesigners. Blokland’s ideas about typography are clear:‘Typography means more than bringing order to the passing on of information; it means elevating to the sublime the mould in which the process of passing on is cast’.

During the eighties, Blokland designed the letterings of a number of monuments, among which the Homomonument at the Westerkerk in Amsterdam. Blokland wrote the book for the television course Calligraphy, the art of writing in 1990; 16.000 copies of this book went over the counter. Further since the eighties he has written some 150 articles on type design and font production for various graphic and design magazines, like Compres,Pers, PrintBuyer, Hamburger Satzspiegel andPage.

After years of preparation, in 1990 Frank E. Blokland founded the Dutch Type Library, the first and nowadays largest producer and publisher of digital typefaces in the Netherlands. A couple of years later he initiated and supervised the development of DTL FontMaster, a set of utilities for professional font production developed by DTL and URW++.

Blokland has designed typefaces like DTL Documenta, DTL Documenta Sans, DTL Haarlemmer (on the basis of drawings by Jan van Krimpen), DTL Haarlemmer Sans and DTL Romulus (also based on drawings by Jan van Krimpen).

When Gerrit Noordzij retired in 1987 from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Blokland was the first of the younger generation to succeed him. As Senior Lecturer Blokland now teaches writing, letter drawing and type design/font production to the graduate and post-graduate courses at the Graphic Design department.

In 1995 he was asked to become a professor at the Plantin Society in Antwerp. Further he has lectured as a guest professor at institutes like the Technical University of Delft, the University of Reading and Lahti Polytechnic University.

April 2013 Blokland designed the calligraphic lettering of H.M. Queen Beatrix’s Abdication Act. The letters on the act, in Humanistic Minuscule and Italic hands, with all their contextual letter-variants, were written by Blokland and transferred by himself into two digital fonts: Abdicatie Regular and Abdicatie Italic using the DTL FontMaster tools. The text was subsequently silkscreened on parchment.

Currently Blokland is doing a PhD study at Leiden University, in which harmonic systems in type play a central role.

Frank E. Blokland - Dutch Type Library

Last Modified: 10-12-2015