5 decades of excellence

5 decades of excellence

Ons portfolio 1963–2013

xxxxx 50 Years Total

Foundation 17 Dec 1962
Chamber of Commerce 4 Jan 1963
Formally approved by Dutch Government 05 Mar 1963

When I first entered this company, I felt something was happening here. What happened, was a group of people thoroughly committing themselves to a certain subject. A subject that apparently needed to be studied, understood, applied and developed, time and time again. It drove the atmosphere with a certain grimness. This here is not about passion. It is about a sacred need.

Our subject is design. We understand design as the tangible and manageable form of themes and futures, as the consistent pursuit of a necessary thought, as the implementation of scenarios, as the conceptualisation of a country and a culture from its mere essence. We help discover, stimulate dreams, realize and visualize direction. Design is never a being, but always a becoming, because what is there needs criticizing and improving. We are normative, in a willingly and knowingly manner, we define laws.

Our subject is interaction and innovation. We understand virtual domains as autonomous and more than additional, because what merges online has repercussions on the offline world and what is true in one place has a different significance in a network. We drive innovation and turn the virtual into real and tangible perspectives. We change laws, models and experiences, to lead our thinking and that of our environment. We accept dynamics as a working method.

Our subject is identity. We understand identity in an applicable manner, as shared ambition, as origin and future simultaneously, as a construct of the interaction with one’s environment, as a shared values system. Identity is a complex concept, as it escapes us each time we pursue its essence. We are searching for the philosopher’s stone. It is an onrushing finish, partly because of ourselves.

We have no alternative for what we do. We can only exist at the high level we operate on. Without that level, we would not be ourselves and would not stand a chance.

But damn – what it brings us and the world! What a unique clustering of brainpower and quality awareness! What an unspoken, but deep mutual understanding. What an obvious desire for renewal, an indispensable perseverance. That is what I wanted to belong to. Then, today, tomorrow.

TOTAL IDENTITY is a choice.


Meeting in early 1963
Dick Schwarz, Friso Kramer, Benno Wissing, Ben Bos, Paul Schwarz, Wim Crouwel.
Jan Versnel


Client TD Associatie voor Total Design, Amsterdam
Assignment Corporate Design
Designers Wim Crouwel, Benno Wissing


Client PAM, Rotterdam
Assignment Corporate Design
Designer Benno Wissing


Client SHV, Utrecht
Assignment Corporate Design
Designer Benno Wissing


Client Total Design, Amsterdam
Assignment Development of computer typeface
Designer Wim Crouwel


Client Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Assignment Signage
Designer Benno Wissing


Client Randstad Uitzendbureau, Amsterdam
Assignment Corporate Identity 
Designer Ben Bos


Client Furness, Rotterdam
Assignment Corporate Design
Designers Ben Bos, Wim van der Weerd


Client World Expo Osaka, Japan
Assignment Dutch pavillion
Designer Wim Crouwel


Client PTT, The Hague
Assignment Phonebook
Designers Wim Crouwel, Jolijn van de Wouw


Client Makro, Amsterdam
Assignment Corporate Design
Designers Benno Wissing, Hartmut Kowalke


Client Municipality of Rotterdam
Assignment City Branding
Designer Wim Crouwel


Publisher Unit Editions
Authors Ben Bos, Tony Brook, Adrian Shaughnessy