RIP Wim ‘New Alphabet’ Crouwel (1928 – 2019)

Wim Crouwel was a Dutch graphic designer, type designer, and typographer.

Warsaw”  by Joy Division, lettering by Crouwel, using the ‘New Alphabet’ (1967

F. alerted me to the death of this design icon.

Crouwel is perhaps best-known for his typeface New Alphabet (1967), as used on the above Joy Division record.

The typeface is in the tradition of geometric reductionism of the Architype Van Doesburg (1919).

While researching this post, it suddenly occurred to me that Crouwel is perfectly and absolutely antithetical to Luigi Colani, the previous entry in this growing collection of necrologies.

What Colani was to the curvilinearity of biomorphism, Crouwel was to the geometric reductionism of the straight line.

Both Colani and Crouwel were born in 1928.

They both stand for one end in a major ‘Straight lines vs curvilinearity’ faultline of 20th century aesthetics.

I have long been fascinated by three major faultlines in 20th century art. Or four if you split up the third.

One may be tempted to map these fault lines onto the earlier Catholic–Protestant schism.