Typography and Languages Redux

The city of Amsterdam’s current publicity campaign is “I Amsterdam”, printed in black and red.

There is a certain irony in using a pun-derived slogan in English to advertise a Dutch city. There is even more irony in then translating that slogan into languages with other alphabets, using the same distinctive layout and color mix. But they have, and they’ve mounted it on canvas banners around the back of Centraal Station.

And I love it. The strong design appeals to me, and parsing the red letters gives me the same brain-stretching feeling that winging it in languages I barely speak does. It’s the perfect advertising campaign for a cosmopolitan, international city.

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11 Responses to Typography and Languages Redux

  1. Serge Broom says:

    Puns in Holland?
    Have they no shame?

  2. Avram Grumer says:

    Looks like only the English version is a registered trademark®.

  3. I guess the others can be stolen without penalty. On the other hand, I suspect they make no sense.

  4. heresiarch says:

    It begs the question though, doesn’t it: what precisely is amsterdamming? Creating artificial lakes with walls of small rodents? Travelling to another country to get wasted? Slowly, slowly sinking below sea level?

  5. Fade Manley says:

    I am sterdamming, you are sterdamming, she is sterdamming… Possibly it’s the state of being angry at a mixing bowl’s malfunction.

  6. Avram Grumer says:

    Well, it is said that “hell is full of mice”. Conceivably there are also rats, gerbils, and ‘amsters damned.

  7. Avram @6:
    hell is full of mice

    In purgatory they use multitouch, and in heaven there’s direct telepathic control. Trackpads? Limbo.

    But y’all have the grammar wrong. Sterdam is like Spartacus: a proper noun. And I am Sterdam.

  8. Phil Sutherland says:

    In Indonesian, fried chicken is known as Ayam Goreng. Has anyone a recipe for Ayam Sterdam (presumably translated as cosmopolitan chicken)?

  9. heresiarch says:

    @8: I don’t know, but I assume at some point the chicken gets totally baked.

  10. Barry Freed says:

    So very very late to this party but the Arabic one should have the letter mīm in red as well, (that’s the one adjacent to the red vertical line with the squiggle at the top, it looks like a little circle or the head of a snake).

    BTW, in case you see this Abi, How do I get in touch with you via email, I have a book binding question for you (concerning a beloved Arabic dictionary of mine, a former constant companion of mine, bound in Morocco by the former bookbinder to the late King Hassan II, and whose cover has fallen off some time ago and it pains me so to see it in such a state).

    Apologies if this is not the appropriate place or way of getting in touch with you but I couldn’t find contact info for you either here or at the wonderful Making Light. (Replace that “underscore” with “_” in my email, naturally; I do it that way to prevent an old and ugly gravatar image from manifesting that I can’t seem to change.)

    PS- love the B5 blogging having watched the entire run of the series for the first time about two years ago and I must remember to come back to it here and reread through your posts when I watch it again.

  11. Hi Barry,

    You have mail.


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