Meet the Judges of the 2017 Typeface Design and TDC63 Communication Competitions

As the premier typographic design competition in the world, the Type Directors Club relies upon an esteemed panel of judges to select the best work from the thousands of entries received from around the world. Here are the two groups of judges that participated in the selection process in New York City at Parsons The New School in January 2017.


Berton Hasebe, New York

Berton Hasebe is a type designer living in New York. He previously worked at Commercial Type, helping to develop typefaces for retail release, as well as custom typefaces for clients including Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, Nike, and Wallpaper*. Through Commercial Type, he has released the typefaces Druk, Platform, and Portrait. Since 2013, he has worked independently and teaches typography at Parsons School of Design and type design at Type@Cooper, at the Cooper Union.

Berton received his bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Otis College of Art and Design in 2005, and he moved to the Netherlands
in 2007 to attend the Type and Media master’s program at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK). His typeface Alda, designed while attend- ing Type and Media, was released by Emigre.

Berton’s work has been recognized by ATypI, Brno Biennial, the Type Directors Club, and Tokyo TDC. In 2012, he was featured as one of Print’s New Visual Artists.

Brendán Murphy, New York

Brendán was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, with three sisters, one brother, and a million cousins. His dad drove a cab and listened to Roy Orbison and The Strawbs. His mom was a mom— she preferred Charles Aznavour. He had many jobs, including milk boy, paperboy, darkroom boy and, after graduation, with 20 percent unemployment, dole boy. However, his main job growing up was to push his dad’s car down a hill at five o’clock every morning to kick-start the engine.

Brendán came to the States on a track scholarship, bought a one-way ticket to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, only to learn the school was in Pittsburg, Kansas (who knew?). He got a master’s degree in design from University of Cincinnati, and, while there, he envisioned and designed a new wheelchair accessibility symbol. The symbol is now in use in many American cities and hangs on the wall at MOMA, albeit next to the bathroom.

This got him a prestigious job offer in New York, which never materialized. And to add insult to injury, they misplaced his portfolio (Murphy’s law). Somewhere along the way, Brendán got married, joined Lippincott as a designer, had two kids, and wrote and illustrated a children’s picture book. At Lippincott for longer than he can remember, he helps companies visually and verbally tell their stories.

Ksenya Samarskya, New York

Ksenya is the founding member of Samarskaya & Partners, drafting type to push the limits of technology, radiate legibly on small screens, and trigger nuanced algorithms of emotion and history. Clients and collaborators include Adobe, Apple, Best Made Co., Birnam Wood, Design MW, Font Bureau, Google, Frere-Jones, Hoefler & Co., Ideo, JaegerSloan, Light + Ladder, McCann, MCKL, Monotype, Snoop Dogg Marketing, and Trolbäck + Co.

Alice Savoie, Lyon, France

Alice Savoie is an independent typeface designer and researcher based in Lyon, France. She studied graphic and type design in Paris, and she holds an MA and a PhD from the University of Reading, United Kingdom. She collaborates with international design studios and type foundries (Monotype, Process Type Foundry, Tiro Typeworks, Our Type) and has specialized in the design of typefaces for editorial and identity purposes.

Between 2008 and 2010, Alice joined Mono- type as an in-house type designer, working on custom projects for international clients and contributing to the design of new typefaces for the Monotype library. She collaborated with Tiro Typeworks on the development of the Brill type family, which received a Certificate of Excellence from the Type Directors Club in 2013. In 2014, she was awarded her PhD for research into the design of typefaces during the phototypesetting era.

Alice teaches type design and leads research projects at ANRT Nancy and ESAD Amiens.

Here is a link to Alice’s Judges Night talk in New York in January 2017.


Spencer Charles, Brooklyn

A graduate of the University of Utah, Spencer Charles worked as a sign artist for Whole Foods before moving to New York City to work as senior designer at Louise Fili Ltd. from 2011–2014.

In 2014, the Art Directors Club named him Young Guns 12. He currently teaches typography at
The School of Visual Arts and is enrolled in the Type@Cooper extended program at the Cooper Union. He runs a small studio practice with his wife, Kelly Thorn, as Charles & Thorn in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They create lettering, illustrations, and type-focused work for a variety of clients.

Stewart Devlin, New York

Stewart is chief creative officer of NYC-based branding and marketing agency Red Peak. He has branded islands and created identities for companies in media and retail; he’s packaged oils and hard liquor and tackled the typographic challenges of creating a global, proprietary font.

After graduating from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, UK, Stewart started out in London before moving to New York, where
he worked at Desgrippes Gobé, TAXI, and The Partners. He joined Red Peak in 2010.

Stewart’s work has been recognized by the International Festival of Creativity at Cannes, the One Show, D&AD, CLIO, Type Directors Club, LIA Awards, Graphis, Art Directors Club, and Communication Arts, among others. Stewart was named one of Graphic Design USA’s People to Watch in 2016.

Read our interview with Stewart Devlin here.

Xerxes Irani, Seattle

Xerxes is a third-generation creative professional. His career travels have included time spent as an international ad agency creative director, a professor at Alberta College of Art and Design for ten-plus years, and the founding partner of two successful design studios—both of which are
still alive and well today. He was previously the creative director for Bill Gates’ media licensing company, Corbis (and Veer), where he led a network of creative teams in Calgary, Seattle, China, and London that produced all marketing and advertising assets for the corporation’s four global brands.

In his current role as principal designer on
the Amazon homepage, Xerxes works with teams across the global organization, setting the content creative direction for Amazon’s gateway for all devices.

This husband of one, father of two also finds time to pursue personal art projects. To date,
he has had seven stamps printed and one coin minted by Canada Post, and he has specialized in brand-positioning projects with the estates of Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, and Alfred Hitchcock, to name a few.

Read our interview with Xerxes Iraní here.

Ale Paul, Buenos Aires

Ale Paul is one of the founders of the Sudtipos project and has contributed enormously in placing Argentina firmly on the map of graphic design.

Ale’s career as an art director landed him in some of Argentina’s most prestigious studios handling high-profile corporate brands. With the founding of Sudtipos, Ale shifted his efforts to typeface design, creating fonts and lettering for several agencies, medias, and magazines along with commercial faces.

In 2012, his font Piel Script was selected at Letter2. He has received four certificates of excellence from the Type Directors Club, eight from the Communication Arts type competition, and several awards at the Tipos Latinos biennial of typography.

He teaches a postgraduate typography program at the University of Buenos Aires, where he previously taught graphic design. He has also taught seminars and spoken at many conferences—such as the AGI Open Seoul, Type Master Weeks NY, TypoBerlin, TypeCon, Pecha Kucha, and Atypi conferences—at the Type Directors Club in New York City, and at events and universities all around the world.

His work has been featured in publications around the globe, including Eye, Étapes, Communication Arts, Print, Creative Review, Visual, Creative Arts, novum, and many others. He is ATypi’s country delegate and a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (and the first one for Argentina).

Ben Schott, New York-London

Ben is the bestselling author and designer
of the Schott’s Original Miscellany and Schott’s Almanac series. His most recent book is Schottenfreude, which contains 120 new German words to describe inexpressible moments of human existence: from “kicking through piles of fall leaves” to the “ineffable pleasure of a cool pillow.” Together these books have sold more than 2.5 million copies and have been translated into 21 languages (including Braille).

Born in London in 1974, Ben was educated
at University College School, Hampstead, and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where he read social and political sciences. He graduated in 1996, taking a double first. After a fleeting career at the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, Ben spent seven years as a professional photographer. He is now a contributing columnist to The New York Times and writes for a variety of publications, including Bon Appétit, The Spectator, and Playboy.

Ben undertakes design and strategic consultancy for a wide range of companies large and small. He divides his time between New York and London, and is married to travel journalist Pavia Rosati.

Read our interview with Ben Schott here.

Janine Vangool, Calgary

Janine is the publisher, editor, and designer
of UPPERCASE, a quarterly print magazine for
the creative and curious. UPPERCASE publishes content inspired by design, typography, illustration, and craft. Her magazine and books celebrate the process of making, the commitment to craft, and the art of living creatively.

Janine got her start working as a freelance graphic designer for arts and culture clients and has taught typography
and publication design at the college level. She has been a shop owner and bookseller, gallery curator, sold a line of greeting cards wholesale, made 10,000 books by hand (with lots of help!), and has sewn her own products for retail. She
has a fondness for typewriters, a passion that has inspired a book about their graphic history.

Her debut fabric collection launched in June 2016 with Windham Fabrics. She is often asked, “Do you ever sleep?”—to which she replies, “Yes! By the end of the day I’m exhausted!” She lives in Calgary, Canada, with her board game–designing husband and curious son.

Here is a link to Janine’s Judges Night talk in New York in January 2017.

Deb Wood, Brooklyn

Deb is a Brooklyn-based art director and book designer.

She has designed an impressive amount of notable books throughout her career, most recently with Abrams, Aperture, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Penguin Random House, Princeton Architectural Press, Rizzoli, and Stewart, Tabori & Chang.

Her work has been recognized in various publications and competitions, including AIGA 365,
50 Books | 50 Covers, Communications Arts, and The New York Times. She was also featured as one of Print Magazine’s New Visual Artists of 2004.

Wood received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. She is married to artist and musician David Konopka. They live in Brooklyn with their dog, Valentino.