Here are messages from the judges of Latin Category.
honorific titles omitted
Compared to the last Morisawa Type Design Competition about ten years ago, I feel there are more discussions about fonts or typefaces in a daily context. I think it follows that more people might be interested in designing fonts, and I would be pleased if they realize it is quite a difficult process once they start working. It would be very meaningful if we could convey that fonts are creations by people.
The alphabet is an amazing thing to have to work with. Not only are the letter forms themselves wonderful raw material, society provides the infrastructure to support it. Almost everyone learns to read. Letters are everywhere. In many religion, even gods have a role in the alphabet. Our connection to alphabets goes deep. We type designers have a lot to be thankful for.
Quite extraordinary that itʼs been ten years since the last much-anticipated Morisawa competition.
Yet measured in typographic years it seems perhaps even longer; such a lot has happened since then. This decade has given us new tools, new faces, the flowering of new specialized programmes of study, new and evolving formats and platforms, a new medium. And perhaps most significant has been the popularization and new level of awareness of typeface design outside our little field, in mass culture: something which has long been a goal of this competition, and which seems only to be growing as type becomes an ever more substantial part of how most of us now interact with the world, and with each other.
But the things that make a winning design surely havenʼt changed in that time, even if it seems like everything else has; what makes a typeface great can vary from the biggest idea to the smallest detail of execution, and in the greatest of them itʼs usually both. I cannot wait to see what my fellow typeface designers have had up their sleeves, tucked away in drawers, and hidden away in closets for this long decade – we have an opportunity to witness the arc of these sea-changing years through a thrillingly compressed lens, and that can only make this one of the most exciting typeface design competitions in recent memory. Dig deep – work hard – bring them on!
Weʼre back! I had the pleasure of being a judge for four of the previous Morisawa competitions. Iʼm delighted to have been recalled to serve again for the new and improved competition, version 2.1.
This year we have, alongside a couple of us veterans, some younger judges with excellent reputations as designers and as educators. Their first-hand experience of contemporary type design enables them to bring a sympathetic eye to the work of the students and young professionals who should feel encouraged to enter this prestigious competition.
It is hard to pin down the characteristics of type designers. Paola Antonelli, of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, made a brave (and rather convincing) attempt to do so in the October 2011 issue of ‘Domusʼ magazine. She observed: “They are eclectic, curious, obsessive, and absorbed, as well as rigorous, punctilious, enamoured of rules and limitations, and loyal to a higher code of design behaviour.” Do you recognize yourself in Paolaʼs description? Having noted the challenges of todayʼs technologies, she ended her article: “In this vein, font design might just be the most advanced form of design existing today.” This is an auspicious note on which to welcome applicants to the competition. Astonish us!