Typographer’s Typography by Charlie Nix

12 Feb

an article by Charlie Nix from the site The Type Directors Club


Typographer’s Typography

The Type Directors Club has been advancing and preserving the best of typography for over 60 years. That’s a long time. Typography, the TDC annual, is testimony to the remarkable evolution of style and technology in our profession—from modernism to mashups, from metal type to Minion Pro, from bookplates to broadband. If the last 5000 days is any indication, the next 60 years will be even more remarkable.

We are living through a typographic renaissance. Over the past twenty years, there has been an explosion of typefaces, the like of which we have not seen since the introduction of the pantograph-punchcutting machine and the Linotype in 1880s. The internet has evolved to include typographic communities–selling, sharing, celebrating, and critiquing type. Design education programs are springing up everywhere, and with them, a host of typography courses. Typographic awareness is at an all time high. Many are discovering and rediscovering the work of legendary typographers. And many of them are among the TDC’s earliest members: Aaron Burns, Freeman Craw, Louis Dorfsman, Gene Federico, Ed Gottschall, Herb Lubalin, Bradbury Thompson, and Hermann Zapf.

Against this backdrop, the Club launched an initiative to rebrand itself–to reflect more accurately the nature of what we do, the sphere in which we as typographers operate, and the members who make up the Club. An identity committee was formed, a design brief was created, and another legendary designer (and 29-year TDC veteran) was approached: Mr. Roger Black.

Roger’s record of revamping publications and branding companies speaks for itself. His typography is bold, iconic. He is steadfast in his dedication to typographic detail, in print (the Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, magazines like Rolling Stone, Esquire, and lately, the Washington Post and Commentary magazine) and on screen (Bloomberg.com, msnbc.com, Discovery.com, and @Home). He’s a typographer’s typographer, and we were thrilled when he agreed to take on the project. His response to the brief is brilliantly elegant. Both informal and monumental, it’s bold lowercase forms reference the Club’s web present/presence, while the incorporation of the previous mark (designed by Gerard Huerta) acknowledges the Club’s rich history. Roger chose the new ITC Franklin Gothic, carefully redesigned and re-digitized by Font Bureau chief, David Berlow.

The new logo is already out there, acting as our silent ambassador. It’s on the new TDC letterhead, to be sure, and on the revamped TDC website (designed, maintained, expanded daily by board member Brian Miller, after the template set by Mr. Black). You’ll also see it on Twitter and Facebook, and soon, members will be able to feature it on their own sites as a TDC membership badge.

The Club is deeply grateful to Roger, to David, and to the Identity Committee: former board members Ted Mauseth and Maxim Zhukov, TDC Vice President Diego Vainesman, board member Matteo Bologna, and TDC chairman emeritus Gary Munch.

* From the Font Bureau site: “In 1902 American Type Founders’ release of Franklin Gothic introduced Morris Fuller Benton. In 1979 Victor Caruso, International Typeface Corporation, increased the series to four photocomp weights, Light, Medium, Bold and Black, all with italics. In 1991 David Berlow added Condensed, Compressed and Extra Compressed widths. Berlow has completed his definitive revision, a single new series, ITC Franklin; FB 2008″


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