#4: Edwin van Gelder

Our guest Edwin van Gelder of Mainstudio is known as a graphic designer of books and publications. Yet in our conversation he also expresses his aim to work at a more spatial and monumental scale. He describes his personal trajectory, from graphic designer towards visual author, and how his projects are not formed by question–answer situations; they’re co–creatorships with commissioners. Like a scriptwriter, he develops a language/system, which only later he visually translates.

Edwin van Gelder is an independent graphic designer based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After graduating from the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2005, Van Gelder founded Mainstudio, which creates projects that derive from the intersection of art, architecture and fashion – as publications, digital media, and visual identities. Mainstudio’s projects are characterized by their content driven editorial approach, which is guided by their typography. The studio embeds inventive printing techniques within traditional media, and explores innovative interaction design within its digital media output. An imaginative art direction approach is the essential foundation of Mainstudio.


Table of content. Helmut Völter: Wolkenstudien. Cloud Studies. Études des nuages. Published by Spector Books


An Inquiry into meaning and Truth 2012, Honoured Best Book Design From All Over The World, Leipzig. Published by Onomatopee.


Exhibition Archetypes and Residues, SCHUNCK Heerlen. Thomas Raat, Standards 2015 Mixed media Various sizes.


Research 50’s-60’s Stedelijk Museum catalogues by Wim Crouwel.


Thomas Raat Archetypes and Residues, 2016. Spread of visual index. Published by Onomatopee.


Thomas Raat Archetypes and Residues, 2016. Spread of visual index. Published by Onomatopee.


Tauba Auerbach, RGB Colorspace atlas. 2012


Swiss designer from the 60’s Wolfgang Weingart, printing experiment with letterpress.


Stedelijk Museum designed by Wim Crouwel VS van Abbemuseum designed by Jan van Toorn.


System design, Dynamic identity for Holzäpfel by Karl Gerstner, 1964


Karl Gerstner’s compound grid that was designed for Capital Magazine in the 1960’s. This allows for very flexible layout combinations.

La Suite Carburateur, Drawn Sound movie clip from the 30’s. Drawn sound is a sound recording created from images drawn directly onto film or paper that were then played back using a sound system.


Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, Monte Tamaro, Ticino by Mario Botta Architects, 1990-1996


Journey form A to B, Superstudio 1972


De School Amsterdam 52° 22’ 11.8380’’ N 4° 50’ 37.3668’’ E by architect J.B. Ingwersen.


Dynamic identity for “De School” based upon the architecture floor plan.


Dynamic identity for fashion designer Anne de Grijff, logo consists of a modular system which can generate more than 4000 individual logos.


IIT Architecture Chicago, 41°50 1 N 87°37 38 W by architect Mies van der Rohe 1956.


Identity and grid system for IIT Architecture’s lectures posters.


Layout examples of individual lecture posters, US tabloid size., 2015.


NDT identity pitch, based upon an isometric grid.


Maison Margiela, oversized snow globe.