Loading ...

Editor’s Column

This year’s Typography Competition winners represent a broader cultural diversity from the competition’s increasingly global participation. While new technological developments enable greater typographic experimentation, we were pleased to see these experiments successfully applied to traditional media categories, including Posters, Packaging and Books.
Go to Jurors Biographies

“The entries show the crucial role of typography in creative projects,” says juror Duy Nguyen. “Whether it’s a poster, a brand or a packaging system, typography is now the key element in conveying emotional messages.”

“Experimental type design [paired with] motion, technology and unique subject matters definitely seemed apparent,” juror Kevin Cantrell says.

“Mixed-up compositions are the leitmotifs of this year’s best artworks, still riding on the strong 2021 themes of inclusiveness and the value of diversity,” says juror Debora Manetti.

“I was surprised by the quality of the student work,” Nguyen says. “They’re now giving the industry a fresh movement of creativity via various medium platforms.” 

“As often happens, the student category offers genuine and brilliant inspiration,” says Manetti. “Maybe it’s time for everyone to remember to go back to our inner student sometimes.”

“The student’s work was so good; I loved it,” juror Daniela Castiblanco says. “Of course, there were some amazing editorial projects too.”

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

“Letters have reached their peak visibility in the illustration market,” says Manetti. “The typographic forms become the container for architectural structures, furnishings and environments. Rounded letters can be fishes, and a complete alphabet can represent the world of chocolate bars.”

“I noticed a lot of looking to the past: lots of classical, script-based and old-timey revivals,” juror Ryan Crouchman says. “On one hand, it’s nice to see the continuation of past traditions. However, it [has] made the contrast evident between work that feels innovative and work that is simply emulating a bygone era with no contemporary spin.”

“There also seems to be a trend of AI-based typography and generative/reactive projects, which is very now,” he continues. “Data-driven aesthetics are something we are seeing a lot of these days and will no doubt continue to evolve.”

“We are continuing to see boundaries pushed in the merger of technology and typography,” says Cantrell. “The line between type design and lettering is blurring due to the ability to imbue typefaces with more personality.”

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

“Some entries didn’t have a strong concept or clear idea, so it was difficult to understand the background,” Castiblanco says. “It is important to have a strong concept, but sometimes I couldn’t see it in the work.”

“I’d love to see more meaningful, conceptual, connected projects,” says Nguyen.

“I personally had hoped to see more ornate lettering,” Cantrell says. “I could be biased, though.”

I also asked the jurors to speak about the technological develop-ments that may change the way we use typography in the future.  

“Historically, type design was always a field going toe-to-toe with the most recent developments in technology, and I am sure it will continue to do so,” says juror Maria Doreuli.

“Technology is facilitating more expressive exploration than ever before, and I don’t see that slowing,” Cantrell says.

“We are now starting to see how AI can produce typographic art- works in a moment—perfectly fitting, for example, in a book, a magazine, a website or a corporate image,” says Manetti.

“Surely, motion graphics and AI might be the next tools helping us generate more visual exploration and making projects more adaptive across mediums,” Nguyen says.

Finally, I asked what challenges future type designers will face.

“I think as AI becomes more accessible, the challenge will be harnessing its immense power while also maintaining the human touch,” says Cantrell. “It’s essential that the human hand still influences the final outcome.”

“Type design will stop being such an isolated, niche field,” says Doreuli. “How will it challenge type designers themselves? This is what we will have to find out.”

“When it’s now easier to create fonts, the accessibility of languages will become more crucial,” Nguyen says. “I’d love to see the next generation of type designers blur that gap, thinking about cultural solutions while creating their next cool fonts.”

“As with all design, it’s about referencing the past while looking forward and not letting technology dictate aesthetics,” says Crouchman.

A minimum of four out of six votes was required for inclusion in this year’s Typography Annual. Jurors were 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 in selecting our thirteenth Typography Annual. —Patrick Coyne ca

Jurors Biographies
Kevin Cantrell
founder/creative director
Kevin Cantrell Studio

Kevin Cantrell has a deep understanding and love of lettering and typographical aesthetics. As the creative director and design lead of Kevin Cantrell Studio in Mantua, Utah, he has applied his signature style to clients including Bacardi, Harvard University, Nike, Princeton University, Tavern On The Green, UNICEF, the United States Postal Service and WIRED. His work has been recognized by the Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, Graphis, the One Show, Print and the Type Directors Club. Cantrell was named one of Print’s 20 under 30 New Visual Artists in 2014, an Art Directors Club Young Gun 12 and a Type Directors Club Ascender.

Daniela Castiblanco
co-founder/creative director
Gracias Company

Daniela Castiblanco is the founder and creative director of Gracias Company in Bogotá, Colombia. She lectures about entrepreneurship and art direction at different local universities. She is also the host of the Bogotá chapter of Ladies Wine Design, a movement that praises the work of women and nonbinary people in the creative field. Castiblanco’s work has been published in print and online, including Amaterre Interview, Cartel Urbano, Communication Arts, Eater, Ladies Wine Design, Revista Bacánika and The Design Kids. In addition, her artwork for Eater was featured in the book Behind The Scenes by the Chinese publishing house Gaatii.

Ryan Crouchman
partner, vice president and executive creative director, design

Ryan Crouchman is the partner, vice president and executive creative director, design at Lg2 in Toronto, Canada. Over the past 20 years, Crouchman has created work for clients across every major sector, from local start-ups and cultural organizations to Fortune 500 corporations. His work has received consistent recognition in every major international design competition. Crouchman has held senior design and leadership positions at some of Canada’s most awarded agencies. In 2018, he founded Lg2 Toronto’s Branding & Design department, helping grow Canada’s largest independent creative agency.

Maria Doreuli
type designer and founder
Contrast Foundry

Maria Doreuli is a type designer and the founder of Contrast Foundry based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied graphic design at the Moscow State University of Printing and received an MA degree from the Type & Media course at The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. In 2018, she relocated to California. Focusing on type design, Doreuli believes in the power of emotion and working with passion. Her self-initiated and commercial projects have been honored with many international awards from the Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, Morisawa, Red Dot and the Type Directors Club.

Debora Manetti
cofounder and creative directo

Debora Manetti is the cofounder and creative director of Ligature, an Italy-based typeface brand focusing on the culture of type design. Ligature deals with projects related to the world of typography, including the award-winning type foundry Zetafonts and the TypeCampus program, created to connect design schools, creative awards and events in the name of typographic culture. Manetti is also a partner and strategic designer of Kmzero, a visual identity agency based in Florence, Italy, that creates design projects for brands such as Disney, Lucca Comics & Games, Marchesi Antinori, Sky, Vogue and WIRED.

Duy Nguyen
M — N Associates

Duy Nguyen (Duy — N) is cofounder of M — N Associates, a Vietnamese branding and design studio based in Ho Chi Minh City. He aims to create meaningful design solutions through brand strategy, identity development, product design and environmental innovation. Nguyen’s work has received accolades from many leading organizations and international awards such as A’ Design Awards, Advertising Vietnam, the Art Directors Club, Brand New, Brands Vietnam, Communication Arts, Counter-Print, Dieline, Graphis, Identity Designed, IdN, The One Show, Victionary
and Vietcetera.


With a free Commarts account, you can enjoy 50% more free content
Create an Account
Get a subscription and have unlimited access
Already a subscriber or have a Commarts account?
Sign In

Get a subscription and have unlimited access
Already a subscriber?
Sign In