Bob Noorda

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Bob Noorda (July 15, 1927 – January 11, 2010) was a Dutch-born Italian graphic designer who lived and worked primarily in Milan from 1954 until his death.[1] 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."

Noorda was born in Amsterdam and attended the Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs (now the Gerrit Rietveld Academie), graduating in 1950.[2] He moved to Milan in 1954. In Italy, Noorda gained fame for his design in the late 1950s and early 1960s for posters and advertisements for Pirelli where he also served as art director.[2] In 1964 he won, together with Franco Albini and Franca Helg, the Compasso d'Oro, the most prestigious Italian award for design, for the Milan Metro station design.

A marble gravestone on the wall of a crypt
Noorda's grave at the Monumental Cemetery of Milan in 2015

In 1965, Noorda and fellow Milan-based designer Massimo Vignelli were among the seven founders of Unimark International, an American design firm with offices around the world, including Chicago and Milan. Noorda is best known in the United States for Unimark's work with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

In addition to the practice of design, Noorda was a professor in graphic design at Società Umanitaria in Milan, ISIA Urbino and IED in Milan. From 1996 to 2001 he was a professor of visual communication at Politecnico di Milano.[3]


Cinzia Ferrara and Francesco E. Guida (eds.). "On the road. Bob Noorda: travelling with a graphic designer". Milan, Ed. Aiap, 2011. ISBN 978-88-902584-9-7


  1. ^ Heller, Steven (January 23, 2010). "Bob Noorda Is Dead at 82; Designer Took Modernism Underground". New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Bob Noorda 1927–2010". Display. 
  3. ^ "Bob Noorda". IDEA associazione. Idea Associazione Italiana Exhibition Designers. Retrieved 29 June 2015.