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Gerrit Noordzij

Gerrit Noordzij (1931–2022) was one of the eminent Dutch graphic designers and (in all senses) writers. He was also a path-breaking teacher at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, where from 1970 to 1990 he directed the course in letter design. Among the students from his classes are some of the most distinguished Dutch type and graphic designers. As a writer of essays and books, his works include the bulletin Letterletter (reissued in book form in 2000), De handen van de zeven zusters (2000), and The stroke. For more, see this incomplete bibliography.


Large 30 s

The stroke: theory of writing

Gerrit Noordzij

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.

Our English-language edition of this book has now been taken over by De Buitenkant in Amsterdam. Go here.
[April 2019]

Out of print. Find out more


Rule or law

Large noordzij rulelaw

Gerrit Noordzij / 2007.09.15

The re-publication here of this essay by Gerrit Noordzij is prompted by the issue of Christopher Burke’s ‘Active literature’. Our book was made in the belief that the best service to Tschichold is a critical placing of his works and his ideas in their real historical context: the fact that we want to do this in such detail must be evidence of the importance that we think his work has. Gerrit Noordzij’s short and sharply critical essay points to what may be the central issue in Tschichold’s writings, and it does more than that. I read ‘Rule or law’ when it was published in Paul Barnes’s small book of ‘Reflections and reappraisals’ on Jan Tschichold, which he edited and published (under the imprint of Typoscope) in New York in 1995. It stuck out from that book as an unusually serious and illuminating reflection, which took Tschichold as its focus, and in the process tells a large truth about how teaching can happen, and how learning can happen. For its publication here, the text has been a little corrected and updated, in conversation with the author. It certainly merits dissemination now on the World Wide Web. RK Read more