Graphic Design heritage
Gerrit Noordzij was born in Rotterdam in 1931. He left high school halfway through and went to work at Boekenfabriek Van Rijmenam in The Hague. In his spare time he designed letters. After two years he got his bookbinding certificate and went into military service (1952-1954). In 1955, encouraged by Piet van Trigt, he studied at the art academy in The Hague for six months. At Uitgeverij A.A.M. Stols he designed covers for books and did the typography. He also worked for publishing houses Querido, De Bezige Bij and Elsevier, among others. He got married and moved to the village of his in-laws in Germany due to the arrival of his first son. He designed book covers for the Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Insel Verlag, Cotta and Kohlhammer.
Later, back in the Netherlands, he designed books for various publishers, after 1978 mainly for Van Oorschot. He calligraphed Queen Juliana’s abdication act and Princess Beatrix’s marriage license. He designed scores of posters, coins and postage stamps, made engravings in wood and copper, and inscriptions in stone and glass. He wrote computer programs for Canon and five books about typography and from 1984 to 1996 edited the English-language magazine Letterletter of the Association Typographique Internationale. From 1960 to 1990 he was a teacher at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.
Dutch Graphic Roots is a series of online publications and aims at generating attention to the roots of Dutch graphic design culture.
Text: Carel Kuitenbrouwer