This is the first English-language edition of a major piece of thinking about writing (in its visual manifestation). Noordzij’s short and powerful text, illustrated with his own diagrams and examples, is the best exposition of a theory that is making a still growing impact on designers, and on those thinking about writing and letters.
|dimensions||210 × 125 mm|
Published in Dutch in 1985, The stroke now appears for the first time in an English-language edition. The book puts forward a genuine theory of all writing, with any kind of implement: thus it covers both western and what we call ‘non-western’ writing. Noordzij starts from basic principles, and gives his attention first to the space around the letters: the white space that serves to define and distinguish what any letter is. He describes in minute detail how the strokes of writing can be formed. Here he uses simple geometrical concepts to underpin his descriptions. So the book is far from a work about art calligraphy and beautiful forms. Rather it is a sustained description of the phenomenon of letters and how they are made in writing.
Noordzij’s theory serves to repair the split that grew up, with the invention of printing, between written and typographic letters. He shows us the underlying ‘written’ quality of all letters, with whatever technology they have been formed. With these ideas Noordzij can be seen as a prophet of digital typography, in which typefaces have been freed from the constraints of their embodiment in metal.
Our edition is introduced by a new author’s foreword; we also retain the foreword of the original Dutch edition. Also included is a note by the translator, Peter Enneson, who has worked in close collaboration with Gerrit Noordzij in making the English text.