Graphic design is about the now and the next. It reflects and shapes today’s social attitudes, political issues, tastes and identities and engages with the most current technologies, media and means of distribution. It leans forward into the future, eager to presage and preempt. It also contains the past. Contemporary design builds on, and pushes against, the ideas and insights of prior generations of designers. And yet the profession tends to overlook the significance of this temporal continuity.
The Wim Crouwel Institute is committed to bringing attention to the connective links between the then, now and what’s to come. We do this by preserving design artefacts and contextual records from the past and making them accessible so that they can be viewed and studied. We do this by shining a bright light on all aspects of current practice to bring into sharper focus what we stand for and what we want the future to bring. Looking ahead to tomorrow we ask: what can never be the same after us? Through our core activities—facilitating the storage and accessibility of designers’ archives, enabling scholarly research and university education, and organizing high-profile lectures and discussion evenings—we are taking new steps towards a richer understanding of the role a designer plays in relation to the profession and to society. Most of all we want to ensure that what we do now as educators, historians, practitioners, provides the most powerful springboard possible for the generations of tomorrow.