TDC Typeface Design Winners 2015

The annual Type Directors Club (TDC) Competition is one of the most prestigious, highly regarded events of its kind in the type and design world. Every year, judges from around the world gather to select the best of the previous year. The goal of this annual competition is to highlight the best typographic work from studios, companies, and individuals. It includes both professional and student work, and consists of three parts: Communication Design, Typeface Design, and the newly added Film Title Design category.

The Type Directors Club is the leading international organization whose purpose is to support excellence in typography, both in print and on screen. The Club has spent over 65 years uniting and celebrating typographic leaders from around the world. Through their annual competitions, they’re able to highlight the best of the best typographic work in both communication and typeface design, in the US and internationally.

The TDC 61 Competition consisted of over 1600 entries, from 49 countries. In the Typeface Design category, there were 22 winners selected from a total of 216 submissions from 37 countries. All winning entries will be included in the Annual of the Type Directors Club, Typography 36, and also included in eight exhibitions touring cities in the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The TDC Annual is highly respected within the design community. Many consider it the highest honor and most prestigious accomplishment to be featured on its pages. Typography 36 is being designed by Abbott Miller, Pentagram, and will be available early December.

The Jury for this year’s Type Design category consisted of Claudia de Almeida, Wired; Paul Barnes, Commercial Type; Dino Dos Santos, DST; Tal Leming, Type Supply; and Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, De Vicq Design, Competition Chair.

Judges’ Choices

A.BrandoBrando, designed by Mike Abbink, was chosen by Dino Dos Santos. This 16-weight family is a contemporary serif with humanist proportions, and explores the balance between mechanical and Egyptian forms. The careful interaction of rigid and fluid strokes gives Brando its modern appeal. The light weights assume the shape of an elegant slab-serif with open letterforms, while the heavier weights feature just the right amount of contrast to give them an even texture in text. The distinctive italics strike a harmonious balance between true italics and obliques.


B.DomaineDomaine Sans, designed by Dave Foster and Kris Sowersby of Klim Type Foundry, was chosen by Claudia D’almeida. According to the designers, “Domaine was an exploration into the Latin typeface genre; Domaine Sans delves into another genre: sans serifs with contrast. Both the Domaine Sans Display and Fine have exuberant detail and high contrast, whereas Domaine Sans Text is more robust and pragmatic for extended text setting. The italic styles have swash cap alternates for all uppercase letters.”


C.SectraBlancpainGT Sectra, designed by Dominik Huber, Marc Kappeler, and Noël Leu, was chosen by Paul Barnes. GT Sectra is a contemporary serif typeface combining the calligraphy of the broad nib pen and the sharpness of the scalpel. It was originally designed for use in the long-form journalism magazine Reportagen and has now been expanded to its three subfamilies: GT Sectra, GT Sectra Fine, and GT Sectra Display.


D.WoodkitWoodkit, designed by Ondrej Jób, was chosen by Tal Leming. Woodkit is a type system inspired by wood type and letterpress consisting of three families: Solid, Print, and Reprint, each with six distinct styles. Every single glyph fills a square. This is a reference and an homage to the physicality of the real-life wooden blocks.

Winning Entries

E.Big-MooreBig Moore, designed by Matthew Carter. This grand serif design is available in Regular and Italic, and it is intended for the largest of sizes. It was inspired by a 1766 specimen by Isaac Moore which showcased many typestyles inspired by John Baskerville. Sadly, a century later, standardization had resulted in these designs having inept lining figures and shortened descenders. Matthew Carter remedied these shortcomings with the inclusion of oldstyle figures, full-length descenders, and historic swashes.


G.GibbsersGibbs, designed by Gregory Shutters. Gibbs is a tough, sophisticated, 12 weight sans named for prolific maritime architect William Francis Gibbs and inspired by his greatest design, the historic luxury liner SS United States. Taking various cues from the unique cast aluminum signs found on board, the result is truly transatlantic – somewhere in between industrial American vernacular lettering and the English humanist styles of Gill or Johnston. Gibbs has enough stylish quirk to be used effectively at display sizes but is designed for comfortable reading in text.


H.HaltrixHaltrix, designed by Daniel Sabino. Sabino’s concept for Haltrix was to head in the exact opposite direction of most script fonts – purposefully making a “masculine” script face, the starting point being the designer’s own handwriting. Every decision was made during development to make the letters as aggressive and angular as possible by avoiding curves and emphasizing straight-line segments.


J.hollie_scriptHollie Script, designed by Felipe Calderón Arteaga. Hollie Script is a typeface that pays tribute to all letterers who created amazing signs in magazines, walls, and windows, through the brush lettering during many years, especially in the ’50s and ’60s. This font is completely based on brush strokes; it has 2,100 glyphs, contextual ligatures from two to four, and characters and alternates for each ligature.


K.InputInput, designed by David Jonathan Ross. Input is a flexible system of fonts designed specifically for code. It offers both monospaced and proportional fonts, all with a large range of widths, weights, and styles for richer code formatting.


L.InspiraSansAndSerifGE Inspira Sans and Serif, designed by Mike Abbink, Paul van der Laan, and Pieter van Rosmalen with Wolff Olins. These designs were commissioned by the General Electric Company in 2013. The Sans is a contemporary design with open apertures, subtle curved parts, and slightly rounded corners; its four styles work great in small sizes including low-resolution environments. The Serif features a moderate contrast, sturdy slabs, prominent ball terminals, and slightly rounded corners to help to tie the family together.


M.LoveScriptLove Script, designed by Neil Summerour. This design evolved as a way to answer the requests by individuals to turn the designer’s brush pen/marker lettering styles into a typeface. “Everything lined up perfectly, and there was a renewed impetus to push this genre, and this style of lettering I have adapted over the years into what will become a series of brush pen/marker typefaces. The first I chose to complete was a high-contrast variant.”


N.MinotaurMinotaur, designed by Jean-Baptiste Levée. Minotaur Sans and Serif are designs based on straight lines inspired by the Cubist movement. Despite their seemingly primitive restraints, these typestyles are legible at any size. Minotaur Serif, in particular, balances its harsh contours with the elegant skeleton of its early-twentieth-century model.


O.ProtoGrotesque.LeveeProto Grotesk, designed by Jean-Baptiste Levée. Drawn from an early German sans serif used for catalog text, Proto Grotesk hails from an era when clunkiness was a virtue. Its pedigree is varied, vacillating between Egyptian and Modern, round and edged, even sans and slab. Despite these contradictions, its appearance is nothing less than sturdy and forthright. Proto Grotesk is strange but steady.


P.SignoSigno, designed by Rui Filipe Alves Abreu. This dynamic sans serif with reverse contrast was designed for editorial and branding. Signo is a charismatic typeface for headlines, but its tall x-height and open counters also allow it to perform well in small sizes, resulting in a versatile typeface across weights. The cursive italics are a lively complement to the roman fonts, and add variety and warmth to the page.


Q.ValterValter, designed by Nikola Djurek. This graceful and slightly cheeky collection of sans serif display fonts was inspired by pointed-pen writing. Constructed on a monolinear skeleton, it offers seven weights that incrementally increase the contrast between the horizontal and vertical strokes. The thin styles appear wider, while the heavier weights feel normally proportioned, as only the interiors of the letters gain weight.


R.AD23A23D, designed by Henrik Kubel and Scott Williams of A2-Type. This is a 3D-printed custom alphabet for letterpress printing. A23D was originally designed for New North Press, who was on a mission to bring letterpress into the 21st century by combining the oldest form of print technology with the very latest innovations.


U.LaleLale, designed by Michael Parson. This floral dingbat typeface was inspired by the intricate designs created during the Ottoman Empire, and still visible today throughout Turkey. The designer’s aim was to enhance so-called “picture” or symbol fonts by using the possibilities that OpenType scripts offer designers. By combining the substitution features included in ligatures, this typeface not only offers the basic fifty-two signs of the Latin alphabet found in most designs but also plays with various glyph combinations to offer 156 different floral motifs that can then be combined with thirty different stems. The result is more than 4,800 design solutions that can be easily accessed by a repeated sequence of letters or numbers.

All winning entries, including those in the non-Latin category, can be viewed here.

Posted on: June 24, 2015

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.

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