NKF: Piet Zwart’s Avant-Garde Catalog for Standard Cables, 1927–1928

Piet Zwart, Philip B. Meggs (Contributor), Paul Stirton (Contributor)

Coming Fall 2024

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Letterform Archive
Publication date:
Fall 2024
8.25 ⨉ 11.5 inches
4 colors throughout
Two softcover volumes (facsimile and critical supplement) housed in a slipcase

A founding masterpiece of modern typography from one of the twentieth century’s most ambitious designers

Widely regarded as the most important Dutch designer of the last century, Piet Zwart helped rewrite the rules of modern typography. An autodidactic student of typography and printing, he incorporated elements of fine art and architecture into his graphic design. He often referred to himself as a “typotect”: part typographer, part architect. His best-known work, an 80-page catalog for the electrical cable manufacturer Nederlandse Kabelfabriek Delft (NKF), is a remarkable case study in visual communication: combining razor-sharp photos, playful type compositions, expressive montages and bold fields of color to transform the humble cable into a subject for experimental graphic design.

Received in avant-garde circles as a model of modernist New Typography, the catalog remains a sought-after touchstone of art and design history. This first-ever facsimile of Zwart’s NKF catalog reproduces the complete book with exacting details and in its original format. An accompanying critical supplement includes fascinating essays by design scholars Philip B. Meggs and Paul Stirton, a rich selection of rarely seen projects from Zwart’s decade-long relationship with NKF and a translation of Zwart’s original manifesto.