When Hansje van Halem graduated in 2003, a series of well-timed commissions distracted her from looking for a job in a design studio. Based in Amsterdam, her practice focuses on geometric typographic structures in an almost tactile way, yet she has little interest in actual letterforms: “My focus has never been the shape of the letter, but the tint of it.” Her work is characterized by the use of highly complex illustrative systems, clearly created by the computer yet retaining residual human quality in the form of imperfections.

While creating a modern world of sharp, graphic forms and texture, surprisingly van Halem looks to the past for inspiration, surrounding herself with old books and generally avoiding the ...

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