Type Directors Club: Arem Duplessis’s Judge’s Choice Pick

This year the Type Directors Club is celebrating its 65th anniversary. The TDC typography competition was established 57 years ago and is still the world’s premier showcase for beautiful typography. Last year this unique design competition attracted over 1,500 entries from 32 countries. Every month, the Type Directors Club will be sending us one of the judge’s picks to share on the HOW blog. So check back often to see the best examples of great typography. Designing with type is one of the most cost-effective design solutions, but it takes a real master to craft amazing typography. Here’s the first judges’ pick:

Arem Duplessis’s Type Directors Club Judge’s Pick

Everything the Ace Hotel does is spot on. The crowd, the music, the restaurant, the vibe . . . the list goes on and on.

I guess I’m a sucker for obsession. The time and focus it must have taken to execute this project floors me. The average artist would have quit after maybe twenty-seven drawings, but ninety-nine of them? All done by hand with black paint! The drawings themselves are simple interpretations, yet the scale of the work makes everything seem so detailed and right. This project excites me; maybe it’s because we live in such a new digital world. It makes me happy to know that a designer made a conscious decision to go at it by hand, one stroke at a time, armed with nothing but a few black paint markers and a tenacious appetite for perfection.

Type Directors Club Competition WInnerDESIGN: Timothy Goodman, San Francisco
LETTERING:  Timothy Goodman
ILLUSTRATION: Timothy Goodman
PHOTOGRAPHY: Mark Dye
CLIENT: Ace Hotel
PRINCIPAL TYPE: handlettering with paint markers and Sharpie
DIMENSIONS: 120 sq. ft (11.2 sq. m)

TDC Design Competition Winner Statement

The Ace Hotel opened its doors in New York City last year. With locations already in Seattle, Portland, and Palm Springs, Ace is known for its hipster and motorcycle chic aesthetic. The lobby buzzes with lots of people, furniture, music, laptops, and espressos. Their café, Stumptown, has gained lots of praise, along with their British gastropub, the Breslin—which is run by the owners of the Spotted Pig in the West Village. Oh, and Q-Tip spins every Friday night. Not bad, right?

While brainstorming in the weeks before, it was important to ask some larger questions before I started my sketch: What’s its relevancy? What’s its importance? Can it become engaging or participatory? Having an idea for a mural that’s both relative to the space it exists in and reflective of the culture around it is not an easy task to accomplish. However, I felt it was something I had to account for.

With those questions in mind, I hand-drew 99 picture frames to create a dense wall of “discovery” about NYC that could be passed to the common tourist staying in the room. Each frame contains a different fact / love / tidbit / thing of interest / shout-out to a place I dig in the city. At roughly 120 square feet, the art was drawn imprecisely to capture the spontaneity and grit of the city. I used paint markers and opaque black paint to help this technique excel. Consequently, it became a labor of love, an act of obsessiveness that was pleasantly grueling.

Learn more about the Type Directors Club and see more amazing typography in the TDC book Typography32.

For more resources about typography, visit My Design Shop.Type Idea Index book by Jim KrauseType Idea Index by Jim Krause
The basic principle behind Type Idea Index is simple: ideas breed ideas. If you are looking for new ways of employing type in your works of art and design (or new twists to apply to your current typographic techniques), open Type Idea Index. You’ll find yourself face-to-face with 650+ custom-created, idea-sparking examples of typography and type-intensive design.

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