De Monsterkamer

Counterpoints in Graphic Design Organised by Bregt Balk & Esther Krop This is a past event

Counterpoints in Graphic Design: Richard Niessen

  • Date: 20/06/2019
  • Time: 17:30 - 20:00
  • Location: De Monsterkamer
  • Language: English
  • Speaker: Richard Niessen
  • Organiser: Bregt Balk & Esther Krop
  • Costs: Free with sign up

With Counterpoints in Graphic Design, De Monsterkamer seeks to offer a stage to designers who make notable contributions as individuals or as collectives towards defending the autonomy of the field and nurturing the craft. The planned event series hopes to generate wider interest for such initiatives that form counterpoints to the mainstream. The first evening is dedicated to Richard Niessen and The Palace of Typographic Masonry.

In his role as the The Governor of The Palace of Typographic Masonry Richard Niessen took the initiative to write the Minister. As member of our government, the Minister needs to be informed about the discipline’s numerous physical, technical, cultural and philosophical aspects. This resulted in a correspondence focussing on the formative quality of graphic design and the key role it plays in our society. You can read and download the letters here.

The four Letters to the Minister are written by Niessen and designed by Steven Lenoir, the collective Goys & Birls, Nóra Békés and Jan van Toorn. They come together on a A1 sheet in silver and black, printed by Zwaan Printmedia.

During the evening at De Monsterkamer Richard Niessen will give a comprehensive and illustrated reading of the letters and a broad insight into The Palace of Typographic Masonry.


  • 17:30 Doors open & drinks
  • 18:00 Talk by Richard Niessen
  • 18:45 Q&A
  • 19:00 Get to know De Monsterkamer & drinks
  • 20:00 End

The Palace of Typographic Masonry. A guided tour by Dirk van Weelden. Authors: Richard Niessen, Dirk van Weelden, Juan Luis Blanco, Tony Côme, Matthijs van Boxsel, Harmen Liemburg, Daniel Wiesmann. Published by Spector Books, Leipzig (DE). Best Dutch Book Designs, 2018.

The Palace of Typographic Masonry is a plea for the power of imagination of graphic designers: a place where the intrinsic value of graphic design is safeguarded and cherished. Founded by ​Richard Niessen ‘based on the lack of an institute that takes care of the graphic design industry’ and designed as an imaginary institute: a building that exists only on paper. The structure of this imaginary building rests upon nine themes: Sign, Symbol, Ornament, Construction, Poetry, Play, Order, Craft and Practice. The Palace of Typographic Masonry invites others to help build this institute, with the aim of celebrating the depth, width, fun and power of graphic design.

Richard Niessen graduated in 1996 from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and as a graphic designer he earned a name for himself with his colorful posters and expressive typography, innovative identities and his collaborations with other artists. In 2007 he created his traveling retrospective “TM-City”, followed in 2014 by the book and the installation “A Hermetic Compendium of Typographic Masonry”. Last year these two installations, together with 3 new ones, formed the large overview exhibition “Building Site”, in Le Signe, Chaumont (FR). Besides working in commission Niessen regularly initiates projects of his own like the publication series ‘1:1:1’ (2010-2016). In 2015, Richard Niessen launched ‘The Palace of Typographic Masonry’, a platform with the aim of combining experimentation and research, connecting different disciplines and embedding graphic design in a broader cultural and historical context.