This paper deals with general principles of orthographic codification. It discusses the notions of usage and norm and claims that the codification of orthographic norms should be essentially the same as the codification of other linguistic standards. The paper draws an important distinction between orthographic norms and rules of spelling. It pays special attention to orthographic variation and shows that disputes among linguists regarding the variation in orthography are clear evidence of the absence of generally accepted criteria for assessing codification of orthography. The paper distinguishes between strict orthographic standards, unspecified norms, and variable norms. In addition, it discusses the need for a short new code of basic orthographic rules.