The Oscar Goes To Commendations “For Typographic Excellence”

The 54th Show staged by Type Directors Club of New York (TDC) will have its worldwide premiere at drupa 2008. From its beginnings as a members-only competition for Madison Avenue's type devotees, the award has grown into the world's highest typography and graphic design honour.

An award from the Type Directors Club of New York is considered the equivalent of an Oscar for typography – known to jumpstart careers and earn winners points in creative rankings. Wherever the TDC Show opens its doors, the typography and type design scene gathers to exchange news and views as well as explore beyond the boundaries of the discipline.

The system of evaluating entries is as simple as it is pragmatic and an impressive case study in grassroots democracy. Each of the seven jury members decides for him or herself whether an entry deserves recognition. If it does, a chip is placed in the cup assigned to the work. If more than four chips are collected, an award is conferred. Some 2,100 entries from 33 countries came under the judges' scrutiny in the latest competition.

More than half of the submissions came from the USA, followed by Germany (378), Japan (82), Canada (81), the UK (53) and Spain (40). For the first time in TDC history, works from India also contested the awards. "The standard of work is extremely high this year, " commented Bertram Schmidt-Friderichs, TDC Chairman for Germany. "And the spectrum ranges from in-your-face advertising to political or social campaigns. There were also designs for the layout of glossy magazines such as the New York Times Magazine' in addition to annual reports and calendars."

Among the winners are luminaries of the creative scene, globally active agencies as well as small companies and as yet unknown designers. One of the big names, Stefan Sagmeister, whose client list includes the Guggenheim Museum, Time Warner and the likes of the Rolling Stones, picked up an award for his book "Things I have learned in my life so far". Others with cause for celebration were Pentagram Design of the USA, Strichpunkt, Ogilvy & Mather, to name but a few.

All of the 225 award-winning works will be on display for drupa visitors to admire in Hall 4 at Stand F 51. Plus, the stand itself promises to be worth taking a closer look: Students under Prof. Gertrud Nolte of the Faculty of Design at the Würzburg-Schweinfurt University of Applied Sciences designed and produced the stand, communications and advertising media as part of a semester project. The result of their efforts is a red stand with the unmistakable look of a skyline – an impressive sight. "To truly appreciate typography, you have to let yourself fall under its spell. Good typography has an almost magical attraction, created by subtle quality and sensitivity, " said Prof. Nolte, emphasising the effects of typography.

About the Type Directors Club:
The Type Directors Club was founded in New York in 1946 when a group of agency typographers changed their regular meetings into a club. Their aim was to raise the standards of typography and related fields of the graphic arts as well as to provide inspiration, do research, promote further education, and disseminate information relating to the typographic arts. These objectives are achieved by various means: seminars, publications, presentations and, of course, most importantly, the TDC competition. Germany has been a stop on the touring schedule of current TDC Shows since the 1960s. From the 80s, the top works have been regularly showcased at drupa.

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