Helmut Salden


Typography, typeface designs, lettering, logos, packaging. Born Helmut Otto Michaël Salden 20 February 1910 in Essen. 1928-30: studied at the Folkwangschule für Gestaltung, Essen (where he later taught photography): teachers included Max Burchartz (photography) and Wilhelm Poetter (calligraphy). 1933: teaching career ended when dismissed by the Nazis. 1934: left Germany and traveled to Paris and Mallorca.

( exh . pamphlet, 1966, and Salden, 2003; see below)

1937: arrested in Spain for being part of the Resistance and deported to Germany; escaped to Switzerland and fled to the Netherlands where he then settled. Worked for a brief time as assistant to Piet Zwart. Designed covers for the literary magazine De Vrije Bladen (The Free Journals) for the Hague publisher A.A.M. Stols, for which he did much work. 1942: arrested by the Nazis. 1942-5: spent some time in concentration camps in Holland and Germany. 1945: freed by the Russians. 1946: returned to Holland where he played an important role in postwar Dutch graphic design. 1949 and 1952: awarded Dutch National Prize; 1953 (or 1954) awarded Hendrik-Nicolaas-Werkman Prize of the City of Amsterdam. Died 2 January 1996.

Writings by

  • war reminiscences, in Vranken, 2003, pp. 143-55 (see below).
  • A comrehensive reference (in Dutch) is Vranken, 2003 (see below).

Writings about

    Paul Standard, ‘The restoration of calligraphy’, Graphis 50, 1953, pp. 428-43, 492-4
  • Charles Rosner, ‘Design and printing in the Netherlands’, Printing Review, Winter 1956/7, p. 21
  • Helmut Salden (exh. pamphlet), Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1966
  • Pieter A. Scheen (ed.), Lexicon Nederlandse beeldende kunstenaars 1750-1950, The Hague: Kunsthandel Pieter A. Scheen, 1970
  • Alston Purvis, Dutch Graphic Design 1918-1945, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992
  • Kees Broos and Paul Hefting, Dutch Graphic Design, London: Phaidon, 1993
  • Walter Amstutz (ed.), Who’s Who in Graphic Art, Zurich: Amstutz & Herdeg Graphis Press, 1962. , 1962
  • Walter Amstutz (ed.), Who’s Who in Graphic Art, 2nd ed., Dübendorf, 1982., 1982
  • Mathieu Lommen, ‘Helmut Salden: His book-jackets and monograms’, Quaerendo, v. 28/2, 1998, pp. 141-51
  • Katja Vranken (wife
  • foreword ), Helmut Salden. Letterontwerper en Boekverzorger, Rotterdam: 010, 2003
  • Michael Harvey (review of Helmut Salden), in Letter Arts Review, vol. 21, no. 2 (2007).
  • Ernst Fischer and others, Buchgestaltung im Exil 1933-1950. Eine Ausstellung des Deutschen Exilarchivs 1933-1945 Der Deutschen Bibliothek. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003. Very comprehensive. , 2003, biog.: pp. 193-4
  • Kurt Löb, ‘Signets von Helmut Salden’, novum, Jan. 1986, pp. 26-9
  • Eberhard Hölscher, ‘Dutch stationery boxes’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Oct. 1950, pp. 52-7


  • Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1949 (group)
  • Antwerp, 1950
  • Museum of the Book, Rijksmuseum, 1964
  • Meermanno-Westreenianum, The Hague, 1964
  • Museum de Waag, Nijmegen, 1965
  • Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, 1966
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1966.


  • Amsterdam University Library.