Typographer, type designer, researcher, letter carver, calligrapher, and writer Gerrit Noordzij died on March 17, aged 90. He started teaching letters and calligraphy at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 1960. Motivated to make type accessible to his students, he identified the stroke of the pen as the central idea in the making of letter forms. What began as a method to make his students into better graphic designers grew, in various iterations and publications, into a comprehensive approach to type design. The contrast cube became an iconic model of his ideas. Noordzij recognised the possibilities of the computer in type design early on. He encouraged his students to not only study the pens and their shapes, but also adopt a critical view on making digital tools (and doing the math). By the time Noordzij retired in 1990, his methods were in use in type classes and workshops all over the world. His book The Stroke has been translated in (amongst others) English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, Korean, Croatian and Russian. And of course, it has been the practical and theoretical foundation of the KABK TypeMedia master for over twenty years.
Gerrit Noordzij at a special TypeMedia class, 2010. Photo by Tânia Raposo, used with permission. More photos of the same series on flickr.
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