20 Sept 2019
Wim Crouwel 1928-2019 
Facd 250 Substance 1977-1980

The highly influential graphic designer/typographer Wim Crouwel died on 19 September at the age of 90. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

Whilst Wim did not directly work with or for Factory Records, his 'New Alphabet' typeface was famously used by Peter Saville on the cover of Joy Division's Facd 250 Substance 1977-1980. Crouwel commented on this in 2011 in the catalogue of the 'Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey' exhibition at the Design Museum in London, as part of an interview with exhibition curator Tony Brook:

"I discovered this at the end of the 1990s, and I was flattered that people had used it. I have seen it in pop magazines - mostly as headlines, and sometimes made a little more readable. They always made it by hand and didn't always follow my strict rules and guidelines. Suddenly, at the end of the 1990s, there was interest in this thing that had been developed 25 years before. That was also the time The Foundry came to me and asked if they could digitize my typefaces for their series of experimental typefaces by people like Jan Tschichold. I was greatly flattered. I immediately gave them permission, and I worked on the project with David Quay from The Foundry."

Crouwel also worked with the 8vo design collective and commented on this too in the same interview:

"I was invited by 8vo to do an article on lower-case typography for their magazine, Octavo. By doing this I got to know the three of them - Hamish Muir, Mark Holt and Simon Johnston - and I was impressed by their work. Hamish and Simon had trained in Basel and there was a strong influence from Swiss design, but different from what the Swiss did. I was impressed by their work, and also by the work, and also by the magazine, the layout of the Octavo magazine."

Cerysmatic Factory

From a personal point of view, Crouwel's typography has always seemed indelibly Factoryesque, and, when it was time for a website redesign some time in the distant past, I chose to put the new masthead in his Vormgevers typeface which was also used on the cover of Fact 290 'Electronic'.

Fact 290 Electronic

Rest in peace Wim.

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