Wim Crouwel New Alphabet 1967

  • Not on view

In the infancy of digital typography—as lead type, set by hand in heavy lead blocks or by machines that generated lines of metal type, was giving way to text set on screens—Crouwel saw an opportunity for an interesting experiment. Early computer screens—cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors—rendered images in fairly large pixels, making traditional curvilinear letterforms difficult to reconstruct, and so Crouwel set out to redesign the alphabet using only horizontal lines. New Alphabet is, in Crouwel's words, "over-the-top and never meant to be really used," a statement on the impact of new technologies on centuries of typographic tradition. In 1988, however, Peter Saville Associates used a stylized version of the font on the cover of Substance, an album for the band Joy Division. New Alphabet was digitized for contemporary use in 1997 by Freda Sack and David Quay of The Foundry, closely based on Crouwel's original studies.

Gallery label from Standard Deviations, 2011.
Medium
Digital typeface
Dimensions
Variable
Credit
Gift of Foundry Types Ltd.
Object number
1072.2010
Copyright
© 2018 Foundry Types Ltd.
Department
Architecture and Design

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.