Competition Judging Weekend

Written by Competition Chairman Doug Clouse and Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. Judging took place January 17-18, 2015.

Communication design judges (l-r): Garson Yu, Geray Gencer, Chelsea Cardinal, John Gall, Alisa Wolfson, Mike Rigby and Pum Lefebure

TDC61 Communication Design:
The seven TDC 61 Communication Design judges* quickly, yet thoughtfully, assessed over 1,500 pieces of design in two days. The first day of judging was devoted to judging physical pieces and the second to digital images and videos of entries.

The second day got off to a late start because of an early-morning ice storm in the New York City area (or were the judges struggling to wake up after the TDC’s dinner for the judges the previous night?). However, our good-humored judges eventually convened for their task, which carried on into the evening. This year, for the first time ever, digital entries were projected on a large screen and judged on smartphones and tablets, using an app designed by the German firm Das Labor. Every year, the TDC receives more digital entries, so TDC president Matteo Bologna contacted Das Labor for help. It became clear during the digital judging that the quality of entry presentation and photography is very important. While judges were generally patient with small photos and indistinct type, they were less so with long — and long-winded — videos.

When the judges were asked, near the end of the second day, what trends they had noticed, they paused as if stupefied by the amount of work they had seen. Several had commented during the weekend on the sheer quantity of good work that they were seeing. A couple of judges mentioned that they were tired of curly, flowing script lettering (“girly,” one called it), as well as chalk lettering on blackboards and nineteenth-century-style packaging. The judges were particularly impressed by novelty, and humor and wit caught their attention. Also, they were very complimentary of the student entries.



It was particularly satisfying for me to see the number of countries represented in the competition and the variety of work chosen for the Judges’ Choice awards. Entries were submitted from 49 countries, and winners represent 28 countries. 53% of the winners are international, while 47% are from the United States. The TDC can and should reflect the global typographic community, and the competition and its exhibitions are our primary international outreach effort. I hope our competitions continue to attract the best typography from around the world.

*Chelsea Cardinal, John Gall, Geray Gencer, Pum Lefebure, Mike Rigby, Alisa Wolfson and Garson Yu.

Doug Clouse
Chairman, TDC61 Communication Design and TDC Board Member

Twitter: @dougclouse


Typeface design judges (l-r): Claudia de Almeida, Paul Barnes, Dino dos Santos and Tal Lemming

2015 Typeface Design Competition:
It was a wonderful experience being the chairman for the Typeface Competition. Almost like having a dinner party and inviting a talented & celebrated guest list of all the people you admire but never had the chance to meet in person. Plus, the added bonus of seeing them at work.

This year we had Paul Barnes from Commercial Type in England, Dino dos Santos from DST in Portugal, Tal Lemming from Type Supply in Maryland and Claudia de Almeida, former Art Director of Wired magazine in San Francisco. We had 216 entries from 37 countries and selected 22 winners from 11 countries. There were many submissions from places where type design has a tradition and a vibrant presence like Chile & Germany, but also from countries where this craft is not so prevalent like South Africa and Uruguay. There was an overwhelming number of super-families but not so many display typefaces.


Multilingual typographic designer, Maxim Zhukov, collaborating with feedback from the non-latin advisory board

It was an eye-opening experience, but lots of fun to meet our talented judges, and see so much intriguing work.

Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich
Chairman of the 2015 Typeface Design Competition and TDC Vice-President

Twitter: @rdevicq

Photograph credit: Catalina Kulczar