Creative Review announces the winners of its inaugural Type Design Awards

Miss Tiffany's picture

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The Creative Review Type Design Awards were set up to honour excellence in type design from around the world. Any typeface first released in the year up to October 2005 was eligible to be entered. The entries were judged by Bruno Maag of Dalton Maag, David Wakefield and Jason Smith of FontSmith, who were asked to base their selections on the follwing criteria: originality, quality of execution and fitness for purpose.

The winners are:

Display Single
Winner: Bello designed by Underware, The Netherlands
Commendation: Monitor designed by Rian Hughes, Device, UK
Honourable Mention: Landing Strip designed by Adam Graveley, UK

Display Family
Winner: Plume designed by Bruno Maag & Ron Carpenter, Dalton Maag , London
Commendation: Kari designed by Neil Summerour, Positype, USA

Text Single
No winners

Text Family
Winner: FF Nexus designed by Martin Majoor, The Netherlands
Commendation: FF Maiola designed Veronika Burian, London
Commendation: Auto designed by Underware, The Netherlands
Commendation: Calibri designed by Lucas De Groot, Fontfabrik, Berlin\
Commendation: Ficus designed by Malou Verlomme, Paris
Honourable Mention: Arlt designed by Alejandro Lo Celso, PampaType, Mexico

Custom Single
No winners
Honourable Mention: UOS Titling designed by Shelley Winters and Blast, London

Custom Family
Winner: Channel 4 designed by Jason Smith, Fontsmith, UK
Commendation: Sheffield Sans designed by John Powner, Atelier Works and Jeremy Tankard, UK
Commendation: Deréon designed by Jean Francois Porchez, Porchez Typofonderie, France
Commendation: Mencken designed by Jean Francois Porchez, Porchez Typofonderie, France
Commendation: Dream designed by Veronika Burian for Dalton Maag, London

Revival/Extension Single
No winners
Commendation: Super Veloz designed by Andreu Balius and Alex Trochut Barcelona, Spain

Revival/Extension Family
Winner: Andrade designed by Dino dos Santos, DSType, Portugal
Commendation: Lapture designed by Tim Ahrens, Just Another Foundry, UK

Non-Latin Single
No Winners

Non-Latin Family
Winner: Nour & Patria designed by Hrant H Papazian, The Microfoundry, USA

No Winners
Honourable Mention: Trust Me 97 designed by Stuart Price and Chris Jeffreys, The Chase, UK

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For more details of the winners and judges’ comments see the February issue of Creative Review,


andreas's picture

"The entries were judged by Bruno Maag of Dalton Maag..."

"Display Family Winner: Plume designed by Bruno Maag & Ron Carpenter, Dalton Maag , London"

kris's picture

“The entries were judged by… Jason Smith of FontSmith”

“Custom Family Winner: Channel 4 designed by Jason Smith, Fontsmith, UK”

Wow. Awesome. Judge a competition and give yourself the top prizes. It never ceases to amaze me that designers are allowed to judge, and award, their own work in these things.

hrant's picture

This sort of thing does seem to happen, like when Alex White
won at the TDC a few years ago, and with an entry (or was it
two?) that was deemed inferior by people who know a lot about
Eastern European type. This seems to happen especially when it's
the first time a contest is judged - remember what happened at
Bukvaraz, when a number of ATypI board members (including
the VP) got a bunch of awards. In the case of first-time awards I
have this suspicion that it's partly due to a fear of not having
enough entries, and asking people you personally know to submit.
The categories with "no winner" might attest to that, although
otherwise refusing to grant a first place because you think no
entry deserves it is certainly admirable in my book. Morisawa
used to do that too.

Personally, being a pragmatic, I would give the benefit
of the doubt that a judge stepped out when it came to
his own entry (I even remember this being a clause in
one other recent event) and I will reserve judgement
until I see the fonts in question, to see if there was a
strong chance of undue bias. To me type design is too
much like "family" to be too absolute about preventing
some people from entering at all.

That said, I certainly am glad I didn't get second place
to an entry from a judge! In such a case I would doubt
my OWN objectivity in arriving at a proper reaction...


Norbert Florendo's picture

Congratulations to all.

Oh, yeah, and to you Hrant ;-)

Hrant hrules in Non-Latin

Eric_West's picture

Congrats Hrant...

antiphrasis's picture


Congratulations! Let us know if you get anything. :-)

William Berkson's picture

Congratulations, Hrant.
When do we see a showing of the winning Nour & Patria?

hrant's picture

Well, I'm actually working on a new (read: non-ugly) specimen,
and anyway I'd like to encourage people to purchase that issue
of CR, so give me more time, please!


jfp's picture

Hrant has pointed:
This seems to happen especially when it’s
the first time a contest is judged - remember what happened at
Bukvaraz, when a number of ATypI board members (including
the VP) got a bunch of awards.

To which I just want to react as I'm quoted as VP: Hrant, don't mix things please. Its not helpful. In case of Bukvaraz in 2001, the judging was independent and held in Moscow with no relation at all with the board of ATypI to which I was VP at the time. ATypI was just one of the actors of this competition.

I don't see on this list of judges, any board members of ATypI at the time: and

(I will not comment the Creative Review Type Arwards directly)

hrant's picture

Well, I certainly agree that this case is harder to justify than what
happened at Bukvaraz (which does not necessarily mean anything
"funny" actually happened). Bukvaraz however can [also] be held
up by some people (not me) as an example of cronyism - and for
better or worse, on the ground that's the problem, more than an
abstract concept of Fairness.* Contests, after all, are mostly an
issue of perception - at least I think so.

* Is it "fair" for example for some talented people to be excluded
from winning at the TDC or this competition because they simply
can't afford to enter? And isn't it "fair" what ATypI did a couple of
years ago: lowering membership fees for people from non-affluent
countries? That was a great moment... but as rare as it was great.


gerry_leonidas's picture

Hrant, I normally don't bother commenting on flippant remarks, but as one of the judges of that event I am annoyed at the shallowness of your comments. You hint that "someone, not me" suggests that Bukva:raz was improperly run because "a number of ATypI board members (including the VP) got a bunch of awards".

What you are hinting at is that the judges would compromise their standing by favouring the designs of people they know, over those they could not guess the authorship of. But should not all submissions be judged equally on a level field? Or should we have exercised some form of reverse favouritism, penalising typefaces the provenance of which we recognised? Have another look at the names of the judges, and consider if you would repeat these suggestion to their face.

Using one competition where you may, probably reasonably, make some pointed remark as a stepping stone to smear another is really lax logic. You should aim higher than that.

andreas's picture

"(I will not comment the Creative Review Type Arwards directly)"

Thank you Jean, this is a comment, but as president of ATypI you should have the courage to say it clear.

It should be common, that no one of the jury is involved, directly or indirectly with a design entered in the competition. Such entries have to be taken out.

.00's picture

Alex White was not a judge of the competition the year his work won. He was on the board, but the judges did their work anonymously. Aknowledging that perception sometimes trumps facts the TDC now prohibits all board members of entering work in the type design competition. I have been a member of the TDC Board for over ten years now, and have never entered work in the competition.

On another note, it appears that the work judged in the Creative Review competition had to be created in 2005. I seem to remember Hrant offering his winning entries for a few years now. New Design?


hrant's picture

> You hint that ...

Well, it's true. I remember at least two people
on the T-D list, although at least one of them
I can dismiss as motivated by vindictiveness.

But even if nobody complains (in public) I think
there really is a potential problem there - and
that's why the TDC decided to change (see below).

> What you are hinting at is that the judges would compromise their
> standing by favouring the designs of people they know, over those
> they could not guess the authorship of.

Actually, no - in the case of Bukvaraz I was saying that there
were submissions by people who shouldn't have submitted; and
you could say that was the real problem, putting the judges in a
position very difficult to balance. On the other hand, I have a
suspicion that -at least some of them- were encouraged to submit
by the organizers, who perhaps panicked in the face of an initially
low submission count (and perhaps entries of low quality). And once
a submission is made the organizers couldn't ask the person to withdraw
it (once the competition did get enough entries), and the person
submitting would have to be quite exceptionally gracious to withdraw
it without being asked, so... What you have is a very human mess.
And one of my points was that this seems to happen more often with
first-time competitions.

So I don't blame the judges of Bukvaraz (or the TDC) for
anything (except maybe being human) - especially since
submissions were anonymous. Mostly I'm trying to explain
a phenomenon.

> But should not all submissions be judged equally on a level field?

Yes, but is that 100% possible? All I'm saying is that we
should take the answer to that into account when deciding
what to think of certain results.

> Have another look at the names of the judges, and consider
> if you would repeat these suggestion to their face.

If that causes me to be less candid (and it would) then that
is my own weakness. Maybe the facelessness of online discussion
allows for greater candor? And maybe we should embrace that as
a means to improve ourselves?

> the TDC now prohibits all board members of
> entering work in the type design competition.

A wise if painful decision.
Not everybody is a pragmatist. :-)

I have noticed the TDC paying more attention
since squeaky public wheels started grinding,
and that makes the TDC a better organization.

> had to be created in 2005.

The form I filled out said "any typeface
designed, first sold or first used between
June 2004 and October 2005", so I'm good.

But when Rialto won at the TDC, and I complained that it was outside
the eligibility timeframe, I didn't even get a reply. The good news is
that it's such a great font (by two really good people) that it behooves
a pragmatist to let it go. Unless of course somebody challenges
that pragmatist's own validity, then it's just a form of self-defense.

But thanks for providing the opportunity for me to clarify - I'm sure
that certain people were grumbling in the background, and that sort
of grumbing can only get louder.

> I seem to remember Hrant offering his winning entries for a few years now.

Don't you remember when a certain competition chairman
had to apologize in public for revealing that a certain
entry had NOT won? Please don't let your annoyance that I
won something and/or haven't given up complaining in public
about flaws in -otherwise commendable- competitions trigger
such desperate maneuvers.

Egos get bruised all the time (like when I don't win
at a competition, which happens often) but hopefully
we can tame our reactions.


.'s picture

My 2¢...

Judges are (almost) always named with the call for entries; it is a selling point of a competition to have high-profile judges. Since judges know that they're going to be judging the competition, they shouldn't enter their own work; which is a clear conflict of interest. If you want to enter work in an competition, then don't accept an invitation to judge it.

hrant's picture

BTW, in case anybody's curious, the first use of Nour&Patria can
be seen here: (top-right thumbnail)
The book (without which I frankly would have had trouble winning)
can be bought directly from Emily or via Amazon-UK (although the
price there is incorrect). It's a large format* limited-edition artist's
book of bilingual poetry, hand-bound, 250 copies. It came out in the
first week of October, so just barely in time!

* I'm trying to convince Emily to sell
a lectern as an optional accessory. :-)

Patria was actually used maybe 4-5 times in the past few years,
but not Nour. And that's like showing up to a wedding without
your spouse; people won't say "Patria showed up", they'll say
"Nour didn't". :-) I actually wouldn't have submitted Patria
independently... although mostly because I knew it couldn't
win in the Latin category! :-/ BTW, this symbiosis is in fact
why I don't put spaces around that ampersand.


jfp's picture

I'm not sure about your comment, but I simply not comment because I don't know how the judging was organised and don't want to make conclusion without knowing the exact facts.

I judged myself some type competitions (to which I never sent anything) and I recall to abstain to some entries that I got the feeling to know: knowing more than well the designer behind them, or simply well the context of the project, because of advices given to it or the designer, etc.

Its not easy to handle…
Type world is a small world and in many cases we are close to a conflict of interest, but I give the benefit of the doubt to others when I'm not sure myself to act correctly or seen as it, even if its not.

John Hudson's picture

Knowing most of the bukva:raz! judges very well, I find it highly improbable that they were motivated by any desire other than to make the best selection of types from the entries before them. Actually, it is a laughable suggestion. But the question of whether ATypI board members and officers should have been elligible to enter in the first place is a legitimate one. If ATypI were organising a competition now, I would certainly be making to case to the board that we should be excluded from entering. Not because I wouldn't trust the judges to be impartial, but simply because it avoids the kind of insinuation -- unproveable and hence also impossible to defend against -- that Hrant has voiced. The TDC policy that James describes makes a lot of sense to me, and had I been involved in planning bukva:raz! I would have recommended the same.

I've no idea how the judging was conducted for the Creative Review competition, but it can't help but look sleazy when the judges appear to have declared themselves the winners in two categories. That's just stupid, especially since it is the first time this competition has run, and it should be trying to establish credibility. One thing I will note about the Creative Review competition though, is that Fiona Ross was identified as a judge in the call for entries and earlier publicity surrounding the contest, and had been asked to judge non-Latin entries. In the event, this was considered unnecessary as there were not a significant number of non-Latin types entered, so Fiona was not involved in the judging. If the reputation of the competition is tarnished because of the judging, Fiona's certainly should not be.

Like Jean-François, I have judged a couple of competitions, and found it necessary sometimes to abstain from discussion or voting on specific entries because I felt there was a conflict of interest. This seems to me fairer than withdrawing the entry from competition: better to let the other judges make a decision about it.

hrant's picture

> it can’t help but look sleazy

And the same thing applies -yes, to a lesser extent- in the
case of Bukvaraz and Alex White's win. Your own criticism of
the "implementation" shall we say of Bukvaraz, and your own
support of the change at the TDC is part of this.

That said, the way a given person "concludes" what "probably
happened" depends more on that person than anything else! :-/
The trick I think is to give people fewer excuses to sling mud.
Not that your own mention of Fiona is anything else, John, and
in multiple directions no less... Why not mention that Nick Hayes
and Domenic Lippa also dropped out? And how is the fact that Fiona
was recruited to judge the non-Latin entries (which is actually a
skewing of the facts, since there's no reason to doubt that all the
judges were asked to judge all the entries, especially ones that
included Latin components) relevant here? That was not gracious,
John. In fact I would point out that you yourself are exhibiting
the favoritism that can infest the judging of a competition. Why?
Because you're human. But an apology here might still help.

And it's always important to remember that judges are human too,
that they can end up in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't"
situation. We should try to give them less reason to lose sleep, and
less reason for people to look down on the results. One way is for a
person who is generally considered to have "arrived" (and knows
this) to not submit (even if pressured by the organizers).

> sometimes to abstain from discussion or voting on specific entries

Which you must admit could have happened at CR; otherwise
you might be perceived by some as guilty of [further] favoritism.


hrant's picture

Some telling "formal proof"* that judges can sometimes indeed be "motivated by [a] desire other than to make the best selection of types from the entries before them" is what Fred Smeijer's revealed in the TDC's Typography 19**: that he chose the Armenian entry because it was for a marginal writing system. A formalist might call this Wrong, a pragmatist might call it Admirable, but the point is it happens, including with people of nearly unimpeachable reputation and rock solid ethics, and sometimes people have the balls to even put it in writing.

* Something some people [claim to] require, if only when it's opportune.

** Tellingly, the first time the TDC held a type design competition.


.'s picture

Hrant, I'm a little surprised to read that you're demanding an apology from John Hudson! If there is one thing that John Hudson is, it is gracious. Look at the volume of helpful posting he has done in the tecnhical strings of this site and you will probably have to agree with me.

John was aiming to shed light on Fiona Ross's involvement (or not) in the CR judging because he knows what that situation was, and does not know what was going on with Messrs Hayes and Lippa.

It's insulting to ask "established" designers to refrain from entereing contests (that they're not any way involved in judging); they have just as much right to win prizes as the "newbies" and "up-n-comers" are.

I don't know what won at bukva:raz!, and I'mnot going to spend time tracking that information down. If judges awarded themselves, that's a shame because they should have refrained from entering the competition in the first place. But if "established" designers won, it is almost certainly not through cronyism but through sheer talent. I recall that the competition was aimed at typefaces which dealt with multiple languages and writing systems; which is the kind of work that is and was typically engaged in - especially before the ease of OpenType development, when bukva:raz! was held - by established designers.

(And for the record, I have entered TDC2 in the past, and never been selected for inclusion. Nor have I ever won any other type design awards or prizes.)

hrant's picture

> demanding an apology

I didn't do that. I almost never do.
What I said is that apologizing might help (and not just me).

John is very gracious most of the time. But if you're willing and
able to read between and lines, and put things in the perspective
of our "particular" relationship, you should be able to see various
insinuations, including some outside the relevance of this discussion.
For example the particular details he provided in elaborating on
Fiona's role had one clear purpose in my mind, and a purpose
unfitting an otherwise gracious person. The only relevance that
Fiona had here is that she didn't participate in a judging that
some people might consider suspect; but even pointing that out
harbors various insinuations, and was done because John likes
Fiona, and not the other ones. That's favoritism. I know because I
do it to. But I admit it. I admit that I'm human, and feel obligated
to remember, and sometimes point out, that my friends are too.

As I said above: egos get hurt, but we must
try to control our reactions. And when we
fail (which we must), apologizing helps.

> It’s insulting to ask “established” designers to refrain from entereing contests

Maybe that is indeed too exclusionary. And impractical.

> If judges awarded themselves

No, thankfully they didn't. But they also didn't enter (I presume).

Furthermore, it's important to point out that Bukvaraz
in particular had something going for it that virtually
no other competition has had: it was free to enter. This
is by far the biggest "fairness-factor" that can be had.

My main complaint really is that some people want to make
some other people -their buddies- look infallible. I think we
can only improve ourselves by being more even-handed.


Tim Ahrens's picture

To me, this discussion raises a very basic question (which I do not want to answer):

Why are type design competitions held after all?

Is it to promote our craft in general? Is it in order to fill some pages for the next issue and make money? Is it to help people choose/find good fonts? Or is it to honour good designers simply because they deserve it?

What are your answers to this? I am sure they are quite different.


smith's picture

I submitted designs to catagories won by the judges and am now thinking of asking for my money back. Most improper.


Patrick Burgoyne's picture

As the editor of Creative Review I thought I’d better clarify a few things about our Type Awards. As is made perfectly clear in the current issue of the magazine, no judge was allowed to vote on or to lobby for their own work. A member of Creative Review staff was in the judging room at all times. The reasons for each decision are recorded in the judges’ comments in the issue but, simply put, if a typeface won a category it did so because it was the best entry in that category, pure and simple. To suggest otherwise is a wholly unwarranted slur on the professional reputation of our judges. Regarding the judging panel, Domenic had a diary clash and so couldn’t attend while Nick was delayed in his return from Los Angeles and so also didn’t make it. Fiona kindly agreed to join us and offer her expertise for the non-Latin categories. However, because the entry for those categories was low, we agreed with her some days beforehand that the expertise of the other judges would be adequate to assess those entries.

William Berkson's picture

I trust that all the judges acted honorably. However, the submission of judges' work in a contest, particularly as authorship of a judge's work is likely to be known to other judges, is I think not a good policy. The knowledge of the other judge, who is likely to come from a group of people who are known to each other, and may well be friends, makes it difficult to be objective, however much a judge sincerely tries to be fair. Thus the awards, though merited, will, as we see, have a cloud of suspicion cast over them. And this is not fair either to the judges or the participants. Thus the policy now evidently followed by other contests, of excluding submissions from judges, seems the wiser one.

hrant's picture

> The knowledge of the other judge, who is likely to come from
> a group of people who are known to each other, and may well
> be friends, makes it difficult to be objective, however much
> a judge sincerely tries to be fair.

You are speaking my language.
BUT: Too many of us are friends. Do we want type design judges to
be like those clueless, socially-peripheral jurors at celebrity trials? :-/


William Berkson's picture

Hrant, yes, the type world is a small one. Yet trying to be objective about a person's work when you are going to see that person in 15 minutes and collaborate with him or her for the rest of the day it strikes me is likely to be distinctively more difficult than judging a person's work who is not another judge, and not in the room with you all day.

bruno_maag's picture

OK, as the chairman of the judges I think I should comment, too:

The type world is small and many people know one another, if not in person then at least via email. We certainly know of each others work. It is therefore near impossible not to be tainted when judging a type competition.

However, suggesting that the panel of judges may have behaved with impropriety is insulting to my professionality and integrity. Winning a category with one of our typefaces, or Jason Smith with one of his is because the work stood up against the other entries, not because we were rubbing each others back. It is also grossly insulting to Dave Wakefield, who proved to be an invaluable umpire and neither Jason or I would have dared suggesting that our type should win simply because we were the judges.

It was unfortunate that both Domenic Lippa and Nick Hayes were not able to participate. Such is life, we have businesses to run. In the end this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we were able to spend more time on in depth discussion on individual entries. None of our desicions came easy, precisely because we know how much time and effort goes into creating a good typeface. In many cases we compared the quality of drawing of individual characters, compared the quality of spacing, how the font family works etc to finally favour one design over the other.

It is debatable whether judges should be excluded from entering work. I certainly have come accross my own work when judging D&AD entries and it has not impaired my facilities to be objective. I have been designing type for long enough to recognise that there are others who are better than me, and when comparing my work with theirs I will say so.

In the end you will have to take my word for it that the judging process was indeed conducted properly. If you think otherwise, I'll see you at dawn...

Bruno Maag
Dalton Maag Ltd

hrant's picture

> we were able to spend more time on in depth discussion on individual entries.

In fact reading "It is our intention to allow the jury to
give proper and careful consideration to all aspects of a
typeface’s design and its success in fulfilling its intended
aims. Any material which helps the jury make its assessment
should be included with the entry." on the entry form is one
of the big reasons I decided to spend the money and submit.

I think any merit my work has tends to be below the surface
(although some people still won't like what they'd see there!)
and when people are given 5 seconds to form an opinion they
usually think "this is a mess" or "it's unnecessarily complex".
I submitted my essay from Spatium (and now Hyphen) as well
as Emily's actual book (it helped that she's in London :-) and if
this were a competition that had taken a fraction of a minute per
submission to form an initial opinion (and thereby axe most of the
entries) I wouldn't have stood a chance. Unfortunately, most com-
petitions, including the most prominent one, are exactly like that.

I think the best thing a competition can do is Go Slow.
To me Critique magazine really did it exceptionally well...
and I'm not saying that just because I won there too! :-)


> Why are type design competitions held after all?

I think the core reason is: people like to watch.


John Hudson's picture

Hrant, I mentioned that Fiona had not taken part in the judging because she mentioned it to me, and since various people were suggesting that the judging was not undertaken in an unbiased way, I thought it was important to note that Fiona was not involved, despite the fact that her name had appeared on the list of judges in publicity for the contest. She deserves to be free of association from such accusations regardless of whether the accusations have any foundation or not. I didn't mention anything about Nick Hayes and Domenic Lippa because I didn't know anything about their involvement; actually, I don't even know who these people are.

hrant's picture

What peeves me [most] is that I think all that was a circuitous
way of getting "there were not a significant number of non-Latin
types entered" off your chest...


bruno_maag's picture

What you mean by that, Hrant? There wasn't enough non-Latin entries. Simple as that. There is nothing circuitous about it.
As there is nothing circuitous about the judging process.

Bruno Maag
Dalton Maag Ltd

hrant's picture

Bruno, I was actually referring to John's mention of that, not yours. Your own mention was just fine because it was the competition chairman clarifying an issue that had come up, within the whole of explaining the circumstances of each judge.


hrant's picture

For anybody interested, I now have a PDF of the spread
in Creative Review showing Nour&Patria. Please contact
me for a copy: hpapazian_thatsymbol_gmail_dot_com


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