“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
P22 type foundry
Richard Kegler is the founder and lead designer at P22 type foundry. Before his involvement in type design, Mr. Kegler was a bookbinder, designer and postgraduate artist seeking a respectable self-sustaining life as a craftsman. The years of historical typographic research at P22 has influenced a profound interest in using hand techniques alongside digital capabilities. Kegler has recently started the non-profit Book Arts Center in Buffalo New York and has returned to an active involvement in hand setting and printing metal and wood type as a concurrent career with digital font research at P22. In 2011, Kegler released Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century, a design documentary, directed and produced by Kegler, that captured the personality and work process of the late Canadian graphic artist and type designer Jim Rimmer (1931-2010).
creative director/managing partner
Erik Spiekermann is an information architect, type designer and author of books and articles on type and typography and two of his typefaces, FF Meta and ITC Officina, are considered to be modern classics. In 1979 he founded MetaDesign and in 1989 FontShop. He is behind the design of well-know brands such as Audi, Bosch, VW, German Railways and Heidelberg Printing, among others; information systems for Berlin Transit and Düsseldorf Airport and for publications like the Economist. The family of typefaces he designed with Christian Schwartz for DB German Railways received the Gold Medal in the 2007 German Design Awards. Today he is managing partner and creative director of Edenspiekermann. Spiekermann is an honorary professor at the University of the Arts in Bremen and in 2003 received the Gerrit Noordzij Award from the Royal Academy in The Hague. In 2011 he received the German Design Award for Lifetime Achievement as well as the TDC Medal.
Tiffany Wardle de Sousa, "Typegirl," is a typographer and graphic designer currently living and working in San Jose, California. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design from Brigham Young University, she worked in magazine design in New York City. However, the drone of the rat race was too much and the call of teaching was too strong, so she returned to her native Utah to teach as an adjunct professor in graphic design at BYU. After a few years, Wardle de Sousa changed her life once again when she found she couldn't resist the lure of graduate school, and promptly moved to Reading, England and earned her Master of Arts in the theory and history of typography and graphic communication. She hasn't looked back since. Her words have been published in STEP Inside Design, Interrobang, Indie Fonts 3 and TypeCulture. She has been a board member for the Society of Typographic Aficionados and a contributing volunteer for the Association Typographique Internationale.