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About the Competitions

Beginning October 1, 2017, Type Directors Club is accepting entries to this year’s competitions here.

We encourage a broad range of designers to enter our competition, have their work considered by an international panel of type experts, and hopefully have that work chosen for inclusion in a prestigious collection of published and exhibited works ranked “the best in the world.”

For more than 70 years, the Type Directors Club has united and celebrated typographic leaders from around the world. The primary way that we celebrate quality is through our annual competitions in which we highlight the best of the best typographic work in communication and typeface design from studios and individuals in the United States and internationally.

Early Bird Discounts for competition entry: October 1 – 13 (midnight EST)

Competition Leadership and Judges

Type Directors Club has hosted the communications design competition for 64 years and the typeface design competition for 21 years. The TDC appoints new chairs to oversee each of these competitions each year.

Communications Design competition:
This year, the co-chairs are Chris Sergio and Catherine Casalino, who worked with the TDC board to select seven judges from all areas of the design world.

Typeface Design competition: Elizabeth Carey Smith heads this year’s typeface competition, which has a panel of four judges.

In past years, the competitions have been managed by:

2017: Angela Voulangas and Joe Newton (communications) and Dan Rhatigan (typeface)
2016: Abby Goldstein and Karl Heine (communications) and Cara Di Edwardo (typeface)

You can read about the last year’s judges and which work they found particularly interesting here.

This Year’s Design: Triboro

During the summer, the competition chairs select a prestigious design firm to develop the look and brand of the competition. In past years, competition designers have included Milan’s Leftloft, Bobby C. Martin Jr. and the team at OCD|The Original Champions of Design, Brian Collins, Abbott Miller of Pentagram Design, and Chip Kidd.

Brooklyn’s Triboro will be creating the brand and the look for the current competition.

Identity for TDC64 by Triboro

How the Competition Works: Professionals and Students

The competition this year officially launched on October 1, with entries accepted until December. The competition area of the website publicizes the rules and fees for entry. Type Directors Club is offering discounted rate for early entries until midnight, October 13 (EST).

If late entries are accepted after the official December deadline, the TDC charges a higher fee.

TDC members receive a discount on their entry fee as a benefit of membership, and we welcome you to join today.

To encourage the typographic leaders of tomorrow, we encourage students to submit unpublished student work created for a class during 2017 (and we also offer two special rates for Student TDC membership). Read more about opportunities and awards for student participation in this year’s communications design competition here.

Close-up of Miriam Rieger’s design for a book and poster set about synesthesia, which received the TDC63’s second-place award for student work (Mediadesign Hochschule München)

The competition also provides entry discounts for residents of countries that are often under-represented in the international design community. Find the list the countries within the Fees tab of the competition web pages.

The Judging and Notification Process

In January, all of the judges travel to New York City to view the submitted work. We also convene a panel of specialists in non-Latin typefaces to advise the judges in the selection of winning typeface designs. Everyone comes together for a weekend to look at, think about, and discuss type and to participate in a rigorous selection process.

Judges for the typeface competition review work submitted to TDC2017 at Parsons The New School in New York City in January 2017

The winners are contacted after the judging weekend and are provided with a digital tag to show the world on social media that their work has been selected as one of the “world’s best.” At this point, winners are asked to send additional copies of their work to be packaged in one of eight exhibitions that are sent throughout the world.

The Traveling Exhibition and New York Debut

The TDC62 show reached type fans in over 42 cities in seventeen countries, and the tour is still continuing through 2017.

All winners of this year’s competitions will be invited to the New York debut of the exhibition, which will be held at The Cooper Union in July 2018.

You can view this past year’s awards celebration here and view many of the worldwide exhibitions of that award-winning work here. We honor exceptional student work through TDC’s Student Awards, which are also presented that night, and integrate winning student work alongside the professional work in the exhibition.

The Annual

For a lasting record of achievement, we produce the TDC Annual, The World’s Best Typography, which documents all of the work in the show and lists credits of every designer, art director, agency, client, and other collaborators. Highly respected within the design community, many consider inclusion the highest honor and a very prestigious accomplishment.

In becoming a winner in our competitions, you become a part of our rich history of typographic excellence, as this recent letter from Germany’s Gutenberg-Museum attests: