1966 saw the launch of the first volume in the Privé-domein series. Thanks in part to its unusual and consistent design, Privé-domein went on to become an icon of literary autobiography.
To reinforce the sense of intimacy, the first volumes of Privé-domein – in the French style – were sold uncut. This did not go down well with the majority of readers, so the publisher soon brought the books out with the pages cut and trimmed. Today the series has amply proved itself: forty-two years later the Privé-domein series stands at number 267: Arthur Japin’s Zoals Dat Gaat Met Wonderen – which is available in two editions: one cut and trimmed, the other uncut.
The striking design shows how tradition and innovation can go hand in hand. Not a trace of nostalgia but a modern approach – certainly for 1966 – in which the choice of the Helvetica typeface for the cover set the tone for the permanent sense of modernity that attaches to the series. The recent rediscovery of Helvetica by a new generation of designers is nice proof of this.
Each of the covers uses two colours plus black for the typography.
The concept for the series was developed by Kees Kelfkens and the typography for the main matter was always the domain of Wim Mol. Both are no longer with us, Kelfkens having died in 1986 and Mol in 2008. Since Kelfkens’s death Marjo Starink, Nico Richter and others have carefully carried on his tradition in the covers.
Talking of timeless quality, the selection of this book is a compliment to all the designers who have worked on the Privé-domein series over the years – and, of course, to the tenacity of the publisher. It is no coincidence, then, that the last work of Wim Mol bears the title: Zoals Dat Gaat Met Wonderen (‘The way it goes with miracles’).