Mr Huveneers, I presume

Unless you have studied GPO posters with a rather unnatural intensity, you probably wouldn’t know the name of Peter (or possibly Pieter) Huveneers.  But it’s worth making his acquaintance.  He designed a whole series of delightful posters for the Post Office throughout most of the 1950s.

Huveneers vintage GPO poster post early

The BPMA have about 20 of his designs catalogued, including this gem.

Huveneers air mail GPO poster from BPMA

And he also worked for British Railways into the early 60s.

Huveneers Harwich Hook of Holland poster

Until 1963, when the last piece of design I can track down is a British Railways poster in the National Railway Museum collection.  And then he disappears.

Fast forward to 1968, when another designer called Pieter Huveneers sets up a design company in Australia.  Now, if you’re Australian and of a certain age, Pieter Huveneers is a big name.  He’s the down-under equivalent of Wim Crowel or Hans Schleger, a designer who shaped the fabric of everyday life.

Huveneers’ work is still written all over Australia.  He designed the logos and identities for two of Australia’s national institutions, Australia Post and Telecom Australia when they were created in 1975.

an australian stamp

telecom australia sign

(The Australia Post logo, with its neatly incorporated post-horn is still in use, although slightly rejigged in recent years.  Telecom Australia rebranded itself as Telstra in 1995).

He not only designed the logo but also created the name of the bank which emerged from Australia’s biggest ever bank merger in 1981, when the Commercial Bank of Australia and the Bank of New South Wales became something much more modern and international.

oz bank logo

And completely rebranded one of Australia’s iconic breweries, Tooth – this is his logo design from 1981.

tooth brewery logo

And that’s just what I’ve been able to find out about from the other side of the world, I’m sure there’s more as well.

The thing is, I have no way of proving that this is the same person.  The dates add up, and the Australian Pieter Huveneers was born in c1926, which gives him plenty of time to be designing GPO posters before emigrating to Australia, and the chances of there being two of them in the design world at the same time have to be pretty slim anyway.  But is it or not?  I can’t say for sure.

But I seem to have reached the limits of what I can find out without being either a) Australian or  b) within easy reach of the British Library.  So if there are any Australian design historians out there who are able to tell me a bit more about him and his design studio, I’d really love to hear from them.  As far as I can tell, he’s still alive too, so perhaps he might be able to answer the question of whether or not he designed those posters himself.  Hope so.

  • Can’t help you with the Peter Huveneers mystery, but we just wanted to say that we have more than 20 GPO posters catalogued. Visit our online catalogue and search for posters. You’ll be presented with 80 pages worth, which should keep you going for a while!

  • Ah, I meant 20 of his in the catalogue – have rewritten this to make it clearer – sorry about that. I have spent many a happy hour in your poster section. What percentage of your poster holdings are actually online so far, out of interest?

  • We think that approximately 28% of our posters are currently available for searching on the online catalogue, or 1837 out of about 6,500, but we have more coming in all the time so its hard to say! Not very many, but most of the earliest posters are catalogued and available online, it’s the later stuff (post 1969) that is still to come.

  • Well done on your investigative work – It is the same Pieter Huveneers, and he still lives in Australia.

  • Thank you for that – it’s really good to know. If you are able to pass a message on, I’d love to be able to ask him about his posters – and I hope he’s pleased that they’re still being appreciated!

  • I note with interest Macus Rae’s comment of April last year that Pieter still lives in Ox … I worked for Piete during the Westpac, Oz Post & Telecom corporate identity programs and have lost contact details for him. I’ve lived in New York for 20 years.
    So … if anyone knows where Piete is (hopefully, with contact deails – preferably email) I would love to hear back … I’ll keep this page in my “Faves” and watch for further comments.

  • I worked for Huveneers in 198-81. The office was in a terrace at Milsons Point. I was an asseemly artist and darkroom assistant. WE were still using letraset in those days. I would be honoured to be in contact with him if he is still alive!

  • It’s really good to hear from all of the people who worked with Pieter Huveneers – he was clearly a very inspirational boss as well as a good designer!

  • Hello all, great post and YES! Huveneers lives. He is 87 years old, I believe based in Sydney and his partner of many years, Tanis, has been very helpful in answering my questions regarding him for an article I am writing on the Aus Post logo. I got in touch with her through Pieter’s profile on LinkedIn.

  • Thank you for getting in touch – I’d love to see the article when it’s finished.

  • A chance encounter when I was trying to spell Pieter’s name correctly! He redesigned the Australian Dulux logo in 1970-71. I have a 16 mm film of him explaining the heritage and the philosophy behind the new one (Black Dulux with a red centre to the D, all inside a lozenge shape). It was superseded around 1989.

  • I accidentally came to your site by looking up ‘Pieter Huveneers’.
    Sorry to inform you that the great artist and good friend of mine, Pieter has passed away just recently (14 June 2017) in Tasmania, where he moved some years back with Tanis.
    Pieter’s achievements are too many to mention.
    He will be greatly missed!

  • Hi all

    The Australian Graphic Design Association Hall of Fame honoured Pieter Huveneers (1932-2017) at the 2018 national awards:

    If anyone has any recollections, or good images of any aspect of Pieter’s life, work and studio environment (additional to what we have) it would be appreciated for the AGDA archives. Additionally

    Like many ‘vintage’ designers, they don’t always have the means to record work at a high resolution or digitally. In many cases they can dispose of work after years, or because of inadequate storage it can decay. Can’t tell you how many designers I’ve researched and effectively rebuilt their portfolios.

    Cheers. Graham

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.