“Overall the entries were very diverse,” said juror Sibylle Hagmann. “Lettering and script typefaces prevailed in many typography-dominated designs almost independently of the category. The diversity made for a very lively assortment with great variation of visual styles from retro-nostalgic to contemporary.”
“A general wave of interest continues in expressive lettering and hand-drawn type combined with illustration, and also a Victorian approach of mixing several different typefaces in a single piece,” said juror Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich.
“I saw certain design movements from other eras being reclaimed and reappropriated back into pop culture,” juror Erik Marinovich said. “It’s exciting to see when a creative can deliver a set of old aesthetics and make it contemporary again in a clever, convincing way.”
As with all our competitions, it doesn’t take long for recognizable visual trends to emerge.
“Viewing a large number of entries like this, it’s surprising to see what typefaces and lettering styles are currently popular,” Marinovich said. “In contrast, the entries that showcased an unorthodox approach to those popular typefaces/lettering styles totally stood out.”
“Design underlies trends, so it’s no surprise that particular typefaces appeared on multiple independent entries,” Hagmann said. “Jumping on the bandwagon is one thing; using fashion-driven typefaces within a fitting context is another.”
“The high caliber of entries made our job as judges more difficult, but far more interesting.” —Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich
“I have a suspicion that it’s due to the fact that MyFonts has a big chunk of the typeface distribution market,” de Vicq de Cumptich said. “I have to conclude that when everyone looks at the same source, they tend to come up with similar designs. I wish more designers took a little extra time to customize or create unique type solutions.”
I asked the jurors what technical developments will change the way we use typography in the future.
“Web fonts! They are the best thing to happen to type since desktop publishing,” Marinovich said. “Designers can finally apply the typefaces they use in print now on the web. There is a growing number of services like Typekit, Webtype and Cloud.typography that are shaping a more attractive World Wide Web. They have also introduced type to a new demographic of people who work in tech but are outside of the design field.”
“I’m betting on higher resolution screens that will further change the way we use typography on monitors,” Hagmann said. “Type that renders even crisper on screen will open additional avenues for use in everyday life in the future.”
Lastly, I asked what future challenges type designers will face.
“First [they need to] think of style as part of the design idea, not as a separate entity,” de Vicq de Cumptich said. “Second, [they must] understand the reasons why these styles were created
“Designing for different media, paper and screen, will still constitute a challenge for the next generation,” Hagmann said. “For the foreseeable time there will be a necessity to design fonts for print and screen. The time-consuming and specialized task of hinting fonts for screen-optimization will yet accompany us for some years to come.”
“A number of entries displayed an apparent love for getting lost in the details, which, for me, is an important aspect when judging work.” —Erik Marinovich
“I don’t see as many challenges as I do more growth in the community of type designers,” Marinovich said. “There is an exciting renewed interest in the field. For example, you can finally go to school and get a post-graduate certificate in typeface design at Type@Cooper. More importantly, I find designers are becoming aware of who type designers are and the typefaces they make.”
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 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. I voted in their stead.
I would like to extend our grateful appreciation to our jurors for their conscientious efforts in selecting our fourth annual typographic exhibition and to Kamal Mansour, manager of non-Latin products at Monotype, who graciously assisted our jurors by providing insight on the legibility and appropriateness of non-Latin typeface entries. —Patrick Coyne ca
De Vicq Design
Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich is currently principal at his own design firm in New York specializing in type, publications, restaurant design and branding. He speaks frequently on typography and type design. He is also the author of several books featuring his own work. His most recent book, To All Men of Letters and People of Substance, was selected as one of the AIGA’s 50 best books of 2008. He has received numerous awards from the Art Directors Club, AIGA, Communication Arts, D&AD, Eye, Graphis, How, Print, the Type Directors Club and Webby Awards. He is on the board of the Type Directors Club and served as chairman for the TDC competition of 2011.
Sibylle Hagmann began her career in Switzerland after earning a BFA from the Basel School of Design in 1989. She explored her passion for type design and typography while completing her MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. Over the years she developed award-winning typeface families, such as Cholla and Odile. Cholla was originally commissioned by Art Center College of Design in 1999 and released by the type foundry Emigre in the same year. The typeface family Odile, published in 2006, was awarded the Swiss Federal Design Award. Hagmann’s work has been featured in numerous publications and recognized by the Type Directors Club of New York and Japan. She is the founder of Kontour, a type foundry and creative studio in Houston.
Erik Marinovich is a letterist and designer based in San Francisco. He is a co-founder of Friends of Type and has worked for clients such as the New York Times, New York, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Atlantic Monthly, Wired, Metropolis, GAP, Lincoln Motor Company and Nike, while also freelancing for various studios such as Landor, Brand Union, Greatworks and Anomaly. He was named Letter Cult’s Person of the Year 2011 and in 2012 co-founded Title Case, a lettering and design studio, with fellow letterer Jessica Hische.