Graphic Design heritage
Born in Amsterdam in 1927, Bob Noorda attended what was then called ‘commercial art class’ at the Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs (IvKnO), also in Amsterdam, in 1950 and 1951. Although Bauhaus was much admired at the IvKnO, the education program was geared to practical implementation. Noorda was fine with this approach. Having lost three valuable years as a conscript soldier in the Dutch Army, at that time fighting in Indonesia, he also lost his initial ambition of becoming an architect. He was eager to enter ‘the real world’ fast and what he needed were some qualifications. ‘In the end, my curiosity and intuition were decisive,’ says Noorda when looking back at his early years.
In 1954, at age 27, Bob Noorda left Amsterdam for Milan, never to return as would become clear later. Italy, where ‘desegno’ was recognized as a discipline of its own already in the sixteenth century, became his new homeland. His common sense was to have an impact on Italian graphic design. Noorda was hired by Pirelli, the Milan Metro, the New York Metro, the Milan Triannual, important publishers such as Vallecchi, Feltrinelli and Mondadori, AGIP gas stations and COOP supermarkets; he created magazines for Ottagone, L’Arca, Architettura and Domus. Altogether a portfolio as magnificent as it was interesting that in the Netherlands received due attention only recently.
Dutch Graphic Roots is a series of online publications and aims at generating attention to the roots of Dutch graphic design culture.
Text: Toon Lauwen