LUCIEN DE ROECK
De Roeck in his Studio in Elsene, on the background his 'lucky star', the Expo '58 logo.
Lucien De Roeck (Dendermonde, 1915-2002) was barely 17 years old when he subscribed at the belgian institute 'La Cambre'. At La Cambre, where the emphasis was put on crafts, he learned the basic principles of typography, graphic design, poster design and branding. During the first year, pupils were allowed to use only black and white in their work. In the second year they could ad one colour, and it was only in the third year that they could work with all colours. Henry van de Velde, principal, and Joris Minne, typography teacher at his school, brought him the love for functional ideas in his design.
His career started at school, where he drew commercial posters for the ferryboat Ostend-Dover and the city of Antwerp. In 1943 the mayor of Antwerp organised a designcompetition to promote his city in a poster. The unsatisfying results of the first round, forced him to ask his friend Henry van de Velde to organise the competition among his students. Lucien De Roeck drew the winning design, combining a vision of the Antwerp cathedral with a red ship and the typical antwerp hand (as part of the myth of Brabo).
As photography was not yet common in posterdesign, De Roeck lived through a golden period using his drawings. Even the letters on his posters were faithfully drawn by hand.
Ten years after graduating, De Roeck takes over the typography-atelier at La Cambre and educates several young graphic designers during 40 years. Besides teaching at La Cambre, he also had classes at St. Lucas Antwerp and St. Ghislain.
Expo '58 logo, 1954
In 1954 Lucien De Roeck won another designcompetition, designing the logo and poster for the Worldfair in Brussels that would take place in 1958. The Expo-star, an elegant, asymmetric elongated star, still is a recognizable symbol. The five rays visualise the five continents, carrying out the humanistic message to the five corners of the world. On the right side a globe and the date were added. In the center of the star he placed an image of the Brussels city hall.
In 1958 this star was everywhere, covering official posters, streetcars, outfits of hostesses, poststamps and schoolbooks.
Lucien De Roeck making drawings in his sketchbook.
De Roeck was a gifted drawer. Inseparable from his sketchbook, he drew everything around him, his family and friends, his pupils, the towns he visited, boats in the harbour,... For each of his grandchildren he had a book in which he kept al his drewn memories since their birth. It was his diary, in which he had to ad a new drawing every day. Today the shelves of his library tend to burst under the weight of nearly 500 books.
Who I'm I, Well, I'm James Little, I live in Belgium . I live a vintage mid century life. Every week-end you find me on the flea markets around Europe. I can't let something go lost, so I buy and buy... you know what I mean
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