A book about early models made by Gerrit Noordzij in the 1960’s

Gewone letters, Gerrit’s early models

A couple of years back, while cleaning the letterpress workshop at the KABK in The Hague, we had an amazing find. A package that hasn’t been opened for some time. We opened it and found eighteen printing plates in mint condition. The printing plates, we soon found out, were made by Gerrit Noordzij and date back to the late 1960’s. They contain a brief lesson about writing with the broad nib and, once familiar with this basis, writing and drawing some different techniques.

Since it seemed the plates are never published before, we decided to do so and made a book containing prints from the plates. Next to the plates we asked former students if they still had old work and sketches with comments by Gerrit Noordzij. The result is a collection of sketches and material, together with five writings about the plates, Gerrit Noordzij and his contribution to the field of type and typography.

Cover of the book Gewone Letters

deluxe edition

Since the printing plates were made for a letterpress, we wanted to make a Deluxe Edition with all the plates letterpressed. The result is a box containing the book and also all the eighteen plates letterpressed on heavy paper. For this Deluxe Edition we thank Sander Pinkse and Thomas Gravemaker for their help, support and enthusiasm. The gentlemen printed all the eighteen plates 125 times as a numbered limited edition.

The Release

During ATypI 2013 we presented Gewone letters and gave the first copy to Gerrit Noordzij. On October 10th, Gerrit Noordzij was honored with the TDC Medal. Peter Verheul held a speech about Noordzij. Later that evening there was a reception in the UvA Bijzondere Collecties Museumcafé with ATypI attendants. The book and the deluxe edition was available in the book shop. Also Gerrit was so kind the sign some books.

Gewone letters is now available in our webshop.


The following people and organisations contributed to the book:

  • Texts and images Albert-Jan Pool, Frank E. Blokland, Aad van Dommelen, Huug Schipper, Petr van Blokland
  • Letterpress prints Sander Pinkse en Thomas Gravemaker
  • Translations and corrections Troy Leinster
  • Print Offsetdrukkerij Jan de Jong, Amsterdam
  • Publisher Uitgeverij De Buitenkant, Amsterdam


We want to thank everyone who helped and gave advice during the process of research and design.

We especially want to thank:
Jan Willem Stas and Jan de Jong for their support, print knowledge and final editing

Gerrit Noordzij

European Design Award ’14

In May ’14 the project (book, deluxe edition, promotional material and website) won a bronze award at the European Design Awards, in the category ‘Self initiated project’.

› More info

European Design Awards

How to order

Webshop Geen Bitter

It is not possible anymore to buy Gewone Letters at Geen Bitter.

Uitgeverij de Buitenkant

You can order a copy of Gewone Letters at the publisher Uitgeverij de Buitenkant. The book is available through their website:

› Webshop Uitgeverij de Buitenkant



You can also get your copy of Gewone letters at several book stores in The Netherlands.


Gewone letters Gerrit’s early models: € 17,50
Gewone letters Deluxe edition: sold out
Cotton shopping bag: sold out