Communication Arts 7th Annual Typography Competition

Communication Arts magazine, a professional journal for those involved in visual communications, has announced the winners of its 7th annual Typography Competition. This juried competition celebrates the best use of typography as the primary visual element in design and advertising, plus new typeface designs, calligraphy, and hand lettering. Categories include collateral, packaging, media, motion, environmental, and unpublished/experimental.

Since 1959, Communication Arts has published the best in visual communications from around the world, and their Award of Excellence is one of the most-coveted awards in the industry. Communication Arts has six juried competitions that cover the entire field of visual communications, and Typography is just one of them – and the one we are showcasing. With winning entries published both in print and online, art and creative directors, graphic designers, web designers, copywriters, photographers, and illustrators find these competitions a priority for worldwide promotion and a valuable resource for potential clients and colleagues.

This year, the distinguished panel of jurors selected 142 winning projects from 1,839 entries. The winners are included in the Communication Arts Typography Annual available in both print and digital editions, as well as on commarts.com. The jury consisted of Lara McCormick, head of design education, CreativeLive, San Francisco, CA; Neil Summerour, type designer/lettering artist, Positype, Jefferson, GA; and Craig Ward, senior vice president, head of design, Deutsch, New York, NY.

We asked Lara McCormack her impressions of the competition and her favorite piece. She said, “Signpainting in Prague by Petra Docekalova created for her senior thesis was a stand-out piece that looked different from the other entries. It was rendered by hand and the designer included process shots that led up to the final versions. It was an exploration of signage in the Czech Republic, a subject matter rich in history—a background not all projects had. I also really enjoyed any entry that made me feel SOMETHING. There were a few images that made me immediately smile (that’s a win!). Some were provocative and made me feel uncomfortable, but in a ‘well-executed’ kind of way.”

Below is Lara’s favorite as well as some of my own, along with the designer’s statement.

Signpainting in Prague

Signpainting in Prague The craft of sign painting did not survive the advance of cheap printing technology in the Czech Republic. Schools that taught this craft have removed it from their curriculums; trade magazines have long gone out of print; and the public has stopped noticing the aesthetics of handmade signs. That’s why I mapped out publications that focus on the subject and neatly organized the historical scripts into a book. I then established continuity by designing contemporary handwritten script styles that follow the local traditions of this craft while responding to contemporary aesthetics. Petra Docekalova, calligrapher/client

The craft of sign painting did not survive the advance of cheap printing technology in the Czech Republic. Schools that taught this craft have removed it from their curriculums. Trade magazines have long gone out of print, and the public has stopped noticing the aesthetics of handmade signs. That’s why I mapped out publications that focus on the subject and neatly organized the historical scripts into a book. I then established continuity by designing contemporary handwritten script styles that follow the local traditions of this craft while responding to contemporary aesthetics. Petra Docekalova, calligrapher/client

New York Times EU and Up To Eleven

(left) New York Times EU; (right) Up To Eleven

(left) This great creative collaboration with the New York Times Magazine adorned the cover of an issue with a special European Union (EU) feature, ‘Has Europe Reached the Breaking Point?’ by Jim Yardley. For the artwork, we created bold, monolithic concrete lettering as a custom cast piece, which we eroded, broke and photographed to illustrate the breakdown of the EU. Gail Bichler/Sean Freeman: typographers, Matt Willey: art director, THERE IS Studio: design firm.

(right) Custom lettering and design for musician Frankie Rose. Jessica Carpenter/Tad Carpenter: designers, Carpenter Collective: design firm

Willie and the Weed Factory

Willie and the Weed Factory

For GQ‘s September 2015 story ‘Willie and the Weed Factory’ about Willie Nelson and his transition from marijuana smoker to marijuana businessman, we used a mix of blackletter type, clip art, and a font made out of illustrated trees to reference the subject matter (marijuana), the headline (Willie and the Weed Factory), and the visual language of children’s books (Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Griffin Funk: designer, Fred Woodward: design director.

Hum Beeswax

. Hum Beeswax

Bees are responsible for more than one in every three bites of food we eat, but they are declining at an extraordinary rate. Hum was created as a solution to help reverse the declining health of bee colonies. All proceeds made from Hum products go back to the contributing beekeepers so they can maintain and care for their bee colonies. Hand lettering is a very organic type treatment, and the use of watercolor emulates honey. The unevenness of the letterforms is a nod to the way pesticides affect bees. Samantha Watson: calligrapher/designer, Rochester Institute of Technology, Typeface: Verlag.

Wired India

Wired India

When WIRED UK was planning to do a feature on Indian startups, it contacted us to design the editorial spread introducing the article. The publication gave us a simple brief: hand-painted typography on a textured background, created using Devanagari script. After exploring a few concepts, we used the colors and typographic style of truck art in India. The main title of the project is a Hindi translation of ‘WIRED INDIA.’ Marisa Falcigno/Shantanu Suman: typographers/designers, Open Door Design Studio (ODDS).

Ana Pro

Ana Pro

Ana Pro in use

Ana Pro is an autochromatic typeface consisting of 26 uppercase Latin characters, inspired by arabesque designs from the 19th century. Programmed to enable users to easily create multicolored drop caps and initials, the typeface features a different ornament for every letter that fits perfectly with its glyph shape. These initials are valuable for use in large sizes, like posters, magazines, and fairy tales. Vedran Erakovic: typeface designer/foundry

Nike Home Run King Bat Trophy

Nike Home Run King Bat Trophy

Nike commissioned Kevin Cantrell Studio to design the Perfect Game, All-American Classic, Home Run King bat trophy. Inspired by old-world typography that imbues the spirit of baseball, we created an illustrative, typographic treatment that envelops the entire circumference of the bat. The Richmond, Virginia-based production company Big Secret used a state-of-the-art, proprietary technique to laser etch artwork around the bat’s circumference in a seamless finish. Kevin Cantrell Studio and Big Secret produced the first-ever bat to be laser etched across its entire circumference—a singular award for a singular baseball king. John Moon, Nike: creative director.

Avett Brothers and Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock

(left) Avett Brothers; (right) Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock

(left) Poster for the Avett Brothers band that also honors the 25th anniversary of booking agency Pipeline Productions. Jessica Carpenter: designer, Carpenter Collective, design firm, Typeface: Knockout.

(right) Cover of Alice & Oliver: A Novel, by Charles Bock. A book about love, marriage, family and fighting for your life. Watercolor typography. Rodrigo Corral/Zak Tebbal: designers, Random House Publishing Group: design, Paolo Pepe: art director.

Shift, Test Kitchen & Take Out

Shift, Test Kitchen & Take Out

Shift, Test Kitchen & Take Out serves a menu that rotates daily, giving its chefs the chance to experiment with a range of different cuisines. The restaurant needed a brand that would reflect the menu’s constant evolution while creating an approachable, lunch-friendly aesthetic. So St. Louis, Missouri-based design studio TOKY created an identity that ‘shifts’ between traditional and experimental typefaces, creating a look that feels familiar, but with a touch of the unexpected. Ashford Stamper: designer, Katy Fischer: creative director, Eric Thoelke, chief creative officer, TOKY: design firm, Typefaces: Akzidenz-Grotesk, Cheltenham.

One Giant Leap

One Giant Leap

Tasked with creating a project that celebrates a US state, I focused on the US Space & Rocket Center, a museum that celebrates Alabama’s contributions to the American space journey. The end result is a lengthy, detailed poster book inspired by outsider art to be completely hand drawn. The book is a call to action not only for Alabamans but also for all Americans to celebrate this national treasure of a museum. Rachel Peckman: designer, Scott Laserow/Dustin Summers: instructors, Temple University, Tyler School of Art.

Qualtrics 2015 Holiday Party poster and ADC Paper Expo 2016

(left) Qualtrics 2015 Holiday Party poster; (right) ADC Paper Expo 2016

(left) This poster for the annual Qualtrics holiday party conveys the sophisticated black tie aesthetic of Monte Carlo the theme of the event was Casino Royale. Arrett Wessman: designer, Jason Johnson: art director, John Johnson/Stewart West: creative directors, Qualtrics Creative, Typefaces: Gotham, Luxury Text.

(right) Letterpress invitation for the annual ADC Paper Expo, an event in New York City that gives practicing professionals an opportunity to meet with leading paper manufacturers and printers. Scott Biersack: designer/illustrator, Typeface: Freight Text.

What’s In A Name

HH.matchboxes

Two kinds of names exist: one conferred on an individual after birth and one received from peers based on peculiar behavioral traits. Indians have a deep fascination for the second kind of name, having developed a special lingo to serve the purpose. Most of these coined words have now become an integral part of India’s language and culture. I have presented some of these typical Indian words in a style that is also typically Indian. Alija Sule: designer, Carma Gorman: instructor, The University of Texas at Austin.

Lemonade Stand identity

Lemonade Stand signage

Lemonade Stand identity

Lemons are squeezed and squished for our lemonade, so we squeezed and squished the letters in our logo. Dejan Djuric: designer, Dejan Djuric/Mike Morelli: art directors, Sean Ganann/Lisa Greenberg: creative directors, Ryan Crouchman: group creative director, Typefaces: Circular, Futura (modified).

Book Smart

Book Smart

To open a feature on classic men’s fashion, we took a literary approach by drawing the display type on vintage books. Katie Belloff/Nancy Campbell/Trevett McCandliss: designers, Nancy Campbell/Trevett McCandliss: creative directors.

Holiday Promotion

Holiday Promotion

Our holiday rum is a wintry wonderland of laser die-cut paper typography. Sara Golzari/Jeff Hester: art directors, Cult Partners: design firm.

An American in Paris

An American in Paris

We created a whimsical type design to introduce this feature on children’s spring fashion in the September 2016 issue of Earnshaw’s magazine. Nancy Campbell/Trevett McCandliss: designers/creative directors, Katie Belloff, art director. Typefaces: Bella Stencil, Casey, Ecuyer DAX, Orwellian, Squirrel.

YETI Coolers BBQ insertion

YETI Coolers BBQ insertion

When Texas Monthly updated its list of the world’s best barbecue joints, YETI tasked us with finding a new way to show our appreciation. Crafted and displayed on butcher paper, this is our love letter to the men and women who make life worth living. Eric Erickson: designer, David Kampa: design director, Tim Cole: art director, Derek Bishop/Tim Cole: creative directors, James Mikus: executive creative director, Jose Canales: illustrator.

# Type Exhibition invitation

# Type Exhibition invitation

Invitation card for the #TYPE exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. C. J. Yeh: typographer, Christie Shin: art director, Cynda Media Lab: design firm, Typefaces: Akzidenz-Grotesk BQ Bold, Akzidenz-Grotesk BQ Light, Blackoak Std (modified).

Tribute to Goyard

Tribute to Goyard

This tribute to Goyard’s packaging label was created on an A4 sheet of paper. I wanted the piece to evoke a feeling of tradition, using old-school letters, ornaments, and composition rules. Using only tiny black dots and a 0.1-millimeter nib, it took me more than 60 hours to complete the inking, which contains approximately one million inked dots. Xavier Casalta: typographer.

Stranger Things title sequence

Stranger Things title sequence

The typefaces we used in this title sequence for the TV show Stranger Things have a lot to do with the sequence’s success. We mimicked a real optical title, which was the way a lot of titles were being made into the 1980s. Optical sequences use film, and the nature of light passing through film creates a more analog look. This, along with other inconsistencies with film, gives a haptic quality that speaks to the era and evokes emotion. The texture of film makes our eyes want to touch it. Who wouldn’t want to look at art forms close up? Eric Demeusy: animator, Eric Demeusy/Arisu Kashiwagi/My Tran: designers, Michelle Dougherty: creative director, Peter Frankfurt: executive creative director, Typefaces: Avant Garde, Benguiat.

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Posted on: February 15, 2017

Ilene Strizver

Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer, writer and educator specializing in all aspects of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition, has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. She conducts her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography Workshops internationally. For more information on attending one or bringing it to your company, organization, or school, go to her site, call The Type Studio at 203-227-5929, or email Ilene at info@thetypestudio.com. Sign up for her free e‑newsletter, All Things Typographic, at www.thetypestudio.com.

1 Comment on Communication Arts 7th Annual Typography Competition

  1. Love some of the type treatments here. I think that since the inception of the computer as it relates to typography, it has become a lost art for some people. I see in many major magazines (not all), that pay no attention to old typographic rules.

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