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Editor’s Column

This year’s Typography Annual features a large and eclectic collection of typographic solutions from international entrants. In the Typeface Design category alone, two-thirds of the winning entries were created by designers from outside the United States. Other significant trends include a strong showing in the Books, Motion and Student Work categories.
Go to Jurors Biographies

“I was excited to see so many entries from Asia and the Middle East, and I did not expect to see so much big-brand work,” says juror Alisa Wolfson. “But the biggest hit for me was the student work.”

Juror Jeremy Mickel agrees. “The work that has stuck in my mind the most is the student submissions,” he says. “There were quite a few fully realized identity and exhibition systems, with custom typography and sophisticated layouts. On top of that, they were also completely believable as client work. The future is bright for the next generation of designers!”

“Much of the work was very good,” juror Nancy Campbell says. “As we judged, what became apparent was that the truly excellent work generally made some kind of visual statement and solved the design problem in a beautiful and unique way.”

“I was shocked by some of the really expressive work—especially the incredible campaign by Carmichael Lynch for the Minnesota Twins,” Mickel says. “It easily could have been obnoxious, but it’s so well executed that it wins you over.”

I asked the jurors which visual trends became most apparent during the judging.

“There was a lot of decorative, old-timey lettering, especially in packaging,” says Mickel. “It was interesting that a lot of these were attractive at first glance, but didn’t hold up when compared to the exemplary entries.”

“I noticed a trend of white, silver or gold type on rich black backgrounds,” Campbell says. “Those designs ranged from spare to heavily embellished. Stretching and distorting typographic forms to create visual drama was also used successfully in a number of pieces. And there were a number of pieces that were inspired by pop art. Those designs exploded with color and wild graphics.”

“Animating variable fonts is becoming a little cliché, but when Studio Dumbar is making those letters move, you can’t help but swoon,” says Mickel.

Along with asking the jurors what they liked about the entries, I also asked about their biggest disappointments.

“I wish there were more books and book jackets entered,” Wolfson says. “To me, that is a great way to show both expressive typography and how the system comes to life.”

“It makes sense that people submit digitally now, but it was a little sad to not see more physical entries,” says Mickel. “On the other hand, there was at least one campaign that looked much better in the online submission than in person! Digital entries do allow you to control the perception a bit more.”

I also asked the jurors to look ahead and speak about the technological developments that may change the way we use typography in the future.

“Since designers are able to master and manipulate type on the computer, the possibility of future design breakthroughs is endless,” Campbell says. “We have so much to learn and to experiment with typographically using the existing technology. I believe more designers will create custom type designs and perhaps even their own fonts as the technology improves and becomes even more user friendly.”

“The technological advancements of variable fonts and color fonts have lots of possibilities, and we’ve only started to investigate what those are,” says Mickel.

“It seems like variable typography is still emerging,” Wolfson says. “It will be interesting to see if and how that changes how we use typography online. That will certainly change how we think about type in all channels.”

Finally, I asked what challenges the next generation of type designers will face.

“One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with current technology and being aware of design trends,” Campbell says. “That’s why doing online design research and reading magazines like Communication Arts is helpful in staying relevant.”

“There’s a growing need for multiscript typefaces, and that was reflected in this year’s submissions,” says Mickel.

“I saw some really cool work in this show that convinced me that there is a curiosity to continue to make and refine type,” Wolfson says. “It might be difficult to continue to introduce new typefaces that are worth using, but I’m constantly surprised, and I bet I’m wrong.”

While a minimum of two out of three votes was required for inclusion in this year’s Typography Annual, more than 80 percent of the selected projects received a unanimous vote. Jurors were also not permitted to vote on projects in which they were directly involved. I would like to extend our appreciation to our jurors for their conscientious efforts and to Kamal Mansour, linguistic typographer at Monotype, and Dr. Nadine Chahine of ArabicType, who graciously assisted our jurors by providing insights on the legibility and appropriateness of non-Latin typeface entries. —Patrick Coyne ca

Jurors Biographies
Nancy Campbell
creative director
McCandliss and Campbell

Nancy Campbell is part of McCandliss and Campbell, which acts as creative directors for Earnshaw’s and Footwear Plus magazines. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in graphic design, Campbell has worked at numerous magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Mademoiselle and YM, and teaches editorial design and typography at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. McCandliss and Campbell has received more than 250 awards, from Communication Arts, Creative Quarterly, Graphis, HOW, Print, the Society of Publication Designers and the Type Directors Club, and has taught a master class in graphic design at the Danish School of Media and Journalism.

Jeremy Mickel

Jeremy Mickel runs MCKL, a Los Angeles–based design studio that produces custom typeface and logo solutions. Mickel studied at Indiana University. He continued his design education at the School of Visual Arts, where he took his first typeface design class with the legendary Ed Benguiat. His work has been honored by the Type Directors Club and AIGA, and his typeface Router was included in Graphic Design: Now In Production at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the Walker Art Center. He has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and has given lectures and led design workshops around the country.

Alisa Wolfson
executive vice president, head of design
Leo Burnett Chicago

Alisa Wolfson is executive vice president, head of design at Leo Burnett Chicago. As a leader in the agency’s US visual design practice, Wolfson oversees brand design for clients like Samsung, Kraft, Allstate, and many of the agency’s cultural and socially conscious clients. Her career at Leo Burnett began in 2009, when she founded the agency’s visual design practice, which is comprised of design thinkers and brand specialists. Her work has been continuously recognized by notable industry awards, and as president emeritus of AIGA Chicago, she is an active part of the Chicago cultural scene and an advocate for collaboration and creative excellence within the community.


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