Friday, 18 May 2012


Steven Heller, in his New York Times obituary of Noorda, called him "an internationally known graphic designer who helped introduce a Modernist look to advertising posters, corporate logos and, in the 1960s, the entire New York City subway system."

Born in Amsterdam in 1927, Mr. Noorda served in the Dutch army in its former East Indies colonies before leaving Holland in 1954 for Milan, where he began his career. He never returned to live in Holland.
His colorful posters for Pirelli tires, where he was briefly the art director, wed the simplicity of Bauhaus typography to vibrant graphic styling. Yet it was his economical signage system for the Milan subway that opened doors to the corporate world. (Mr. Noorda also worked on the underground transit systems in São Paulo, Brazil, and Naples, Italy.)
It was in Milan where Mr. Noorda met Mr. Vignelli and established a long business partnership and friendship. They went on to teach together at the School of Industrial Design in Venice before starting Unimark, which eventually opened offices in Switzerland, Germany and Holland as well as in Italy and the United States. It closed in the 1970s.
Afterward Mr. Noorda opened his own design studio in Milan with his wife, Ornella Vitali Noorda. She survives him, as does their daughter, Catharin, of Milan.
For his contributions to Milan, Mr. Noorda was given a sepulcher in the city’s historic cemetery, the Famedio del Cimitero Monumentale, where some of its most famous citizens are buried.

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