“In general, I really enjoyed most of the work,” said juror Tiffany Wardle de Sousa. “For me it was important to consider each project separately because viewed as a whole I sensed a sameness.”
That sameness might best be explained by identifying the most common visual trends. “The lock-up look was a prevailing theme,” juror Erik Spiekermann said. “Pages were full, and if it wasn’t the page, then a shape was filled with type; from clouds to trees, everything served as a lock-up for letters.”
“We joked about the lock-up look, but it was very prevalent.” Wardle de Sousa said. “I’m curious to go back and look through other annuals to see if it is there and it just never occurred to me before. Still, there were aha moments and opportunities to inspire even the jaded. I still think about that rooster poster [p. 129].”
The judges also noted an abundance of handlettering on numerous entries. “From chalk on blackboards to Sharpies on paper, lots of messages were informally written to fill the page,” Spiekermann said.
“I appreciate handlettering, but there are so many typefaces out there that might have solved different problems in a better way.” Wardle de Sousa said.
“Letterpress is the trend du jour. Some used it well, and others just used it like one might use a drop shadow.” —Tiffany Wardle de Sousa
“This is no doubt a reaction to the computer in a similar way that William Morris spearheaded the Arts and Crafts movement as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution,” said juror Richard Kegler. “The retro and handmade still need to transcend nostalgia and come to terms with pure digital design. Right now it is an uneasy coexistence.”
I asked the jurors about the future of typography and what challenges will be faced by type designers and specifiers. “I hope technology innovators will always keep the rules of typography in mind as they create,” Wardle de Sousa said. “The shapes of the letters will not change, but there will be new technical problems to be solved.”
“On screen and type for screens will no doubt evolve beyond web fonts and hinting with higher resolution,” Kegler said. “Printing on paper will still be a valuable medium, less so for many ephemeral uses. Ephemera of the past will become keepsakes and collectible items that are fetishized as they become less common.”
“We’ll use the same rules for type on the screen or on paper because the technical constraints will disappear, leaving only physical constraints,” Spiekermann said. “Designers have always thrived on those. Designing a tiny label for a medication bottle is a more complex design problem than making type look good on a website. The tools are now available to use type properly, whatever surface, media or substrate it appears on.”
“Much of the work was good. It was harder to decide what was really great.” —Richard Kegler
As in our other competitions, we employed a two-step jurying system, screening and finals. For screening, print entries were spread out on six rows of tables by category and each juror reviewed the entries independently. Any juror could put an entry into the next round by handing it to a member of our staff. Digital entries and motion graphics were screened by checking an “in” or “out” box on scoring sheets.
During finals, print entries were again spread out on tables by category. Two paper cups, one white and one red, with slots cut in the bottom, were placed upside down to the right of each entry, white cups for “in” votes, red cups for “out.” Each juror voted by placing a different colored ceramic tile into the appropriate cup. A check of the tile colors ensured that each judge voted on every single piece.
After all the jurors were finished voting on the print setup, they moved to another hall for a final session of projected images or motion graphics. Again voting was done by each juror checking the “in” or “out” column on the scoring sheets.
Judges were not permitted to vote on projects with which they were directly involved. When judges’ pieces were in the finals, I voted in their stead.
I would like to extend our grateful appreciation to our jurors for their conscientious efforts in selecting our second annual typographic exhibition. —Patrick Coyne ca