Designer of Dutch banknotes and stamps; Head of the Art and Design branch of the Dutch postal service (PTT).
Robert Oxenaar revolutionised the look of official government publications and documents like passports, postage stamps, and most notably, banknotes. He has also been a key player in the growth of the Dutch graphic design community.
Since he started designing Dutch banknotes in 1965, they have been hailed as the most cutting-edge and innovative in the entire world. They bear innovative social devices and moments of breathtaking beauty, like the 50 guilder note with sunflowers glowing yellow on it (raised marks to allow the visually handicapped to identify note values were used here for the first time). The 250-guilder note, which Oxenaar elaborately displayed with rabbits, birds, and other oddities as watermarks and registration devices, is perhaps his most famous example of an intricate anti-counterfeit device. This paper humanises the most impersonal of official documents.
He was appointed head of the PTT’s art and design division in 1976, serving as the organization’s general “aesthetic” adviser and overseeing the placement of artwork in PTT structures. This required commissioning artwork, furniture sign systems, and promotional materials for the buildings’ interior and exterior. In this surprisingly wide-ranging role, Oxenaar helped launch a new generation of Dutch designers in the 1970s, including notables like Gert Dumbar. Throughout the 1980s, he continued to support and encourage young studios, designers, and artists.
Dormer, Peter. The Illustrated Dictionary of Twentieth Century Designers. 1991.
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