Jan Willem Stas

Guest teacher at TypeMedia

Jan Willem Stas (1949, Geldrop) is a guest teacher at TypeMedia . He was the coordinator of the post-graduate ‘Type Design & Typography’ course, the precursor of the actual TypeMedia, and of the master programme of TypeMedia from 1996 until Jan Willem Stas retired in 2015.

He spent the holidays of his childhood in the small printing office of his grandfather in a little village between the rivers Maas and Waal. After secondary school he visited the School of Printing in Eindhoven and the College of Printing in Utrecht, where he was taught graphic design under Jos Houweling at the time of the transition from lead to offset printing and typesetting from Linotype to Linotronic.

In 1972 he was admitted to the prestigious Visual Communication department of Jan van Keulen at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Already during his studies in Amsterdam he joined one of his friends to set up a small publishing house for poetry from mostly young writers without access to the established publishers. When their work became better known it resulted in book design commissions for other publishers like uitgeverij Bert Bakker, De Bezige Bij, Nijgh en Van Ditmar and Prometheus. Besides literary books he composed publications for the Museum of Contemporary Art (Smak) in Ghent and the Museum for Contemporary Art Antwerp (Muhka), in both institutions he was also involved in the installation of various exhibitions.

In 1994 he was asked to teach the typography classes at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. At that time the Graphic Design department organised an additional evening course in type design for a small group of talented students, taught by Petr van Blokland, Frank Blokland, Matthias Noordzij and Peter Verheul. After the ATypI conference held at the academy in 1996, the head of the bachelor department Anno Fekkes invited Jan Willem Stas and Peter Verheul to develop the study program into a two year fulltime postgraduate course.

Although the ministry denied the official application ‘Type Design & Typography’, the course started unofficial and unsubsidised by the government. Apart from Petr van Blokland and Frank Blokland also Françoise Berserik, Frans van Mourik and Paul van der Laan were invited as guest teachers. The next application as ‘Type and Media’ in 2002 was more successful and also official. The faculty had Erik van Blokland, Paul van der Laan, Peter Verheul and Jan Willem Stas as regular teachers. Françoise Berserik, Peter Bil’ak, Frank Blokland, Petr van Blokland, Christoph Noordzij and Just van Rossum were visiting teachers, Fred Smeijers and Gerard Unger were lecturers. Jan Willem Stas acted as coordinator.

After the accreditation in 2008, TypeMedia became an official, recognised one-year master. Jan Willem Stas had to retire in 2015 from his position as coordinator but is happy to be still part of de TypeMedia program as guest teacher.

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