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Ib Antoni

March 22, 2022

At the end of last year, there was a new book released, celebrating the wonderful midcentury work of Ib Antoni. Written by Sara Alfort in collaboration with Antoni Legacy. It has been published in English with the title “The Man Who Drew Denmark”, also available in Danish, as an e-book, and an audiobook. It can be bought right here on the official Ib Antoni website.

Ib Antoni was born in Esbjerg in Jutland, Denmark in 1929 and grew up in Aarhus, where he was educated as an advertising designer on the advertising agency “Buchtrup’s Klichéfabrik”, after which he was hired by the agency “Harlang & Toksvig”.

It was however in Copenhagen that his career would really progress, and here he became one of the great Danish postwar-“Mad Men”, as he as the art director on some of the greatest advertising campaigns of his time made his humorous and positive stroke known and loved in the entire world. You may well recognise some of his world renown posters, such as the Little Mermaid, seen below.

His style is so accessible and humorous, I’m certain he has influenced countless Illustrators who came across his work.

Ib Antoni originally wanted to be an architect, for which (in spite of the great talent) the childhood home could not financially provide for.

Ib Antoni was an eager collaborator throughout his career and worked closely with around 200 companies and organisations all over the world.

The passion to design never faded, and therefore, in the late 1960s and early 1970s he devoted himself, apart from his work designing posters, to work that could satisfy his interest within the architectural field.

The demand for the Antoni stroke came from all over the world, and he had customers such as Shell, Unicef, Volvo, Life Magazine and Neiman-Marcus.

In Denmark he was called the ”National Illustrator of Denmark”, because his posters with The Little Mermaid, Tivoli and Copenhagen were – and still are – a part of creating the narrative of the native country and of the national brand, that attract visitors from all over the world. A narrative of great and clean-cut designs and the love of fairytales taken straight out of a H. C. Andersen adventure.

He also made his debut, before his untimely death, within beautiful rug designs, poetical children’s books, colourful textiles, stylish porcelain for Royal Copenhagen and last, but not least, the classical Tivoli lamp, that was reproduced in 2017 by the Danish company “Le Klint”.

When he died in a tragic fire, only 44 years old, the papers called him “world-famous” and “the greatest in his field”, and it’s easy to see why.

Many thanks to the Ib Antoni website who allowed me to use the info and illustrations from their site.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Ailsa j permalink
    March 22, 2022 12:31 pm

    Thanks for another fascinating blog, Craig. Loving these, a lot. Some of the figures made me think somewhat of Mr Benn by David McKee…

  2. March 22, 2022 3:45 pm

    Thank you for the lovely post! I’m having trouble ordering the book from their website. Any idea if it will be available elsewhere?

  3. tonyhannaford permalink
    March 22, 2022 4:26 pm


    Thanks for this post. Fabulous stuff. Always a pleasure to read your posts!



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