The Type Directors Club (also known as the TDC) is an international organization for those devoted to excellence in typography in all its forms. Created in 1946, the organization’s mission is to raise the standards of typography and related fields within the graphic arts. The TDC supports research and education, and disseminates information relating to typography. The TDC supports the industry through a number of programs, including the annual typographic design competition, educational seminars and events, publications, and co-operation with other like-minded organizations. The club supports itself through memberships of type designers, typographers, graphic designers, other industry professionals, and students.
TDC produces a design annual that features award-winning typography. The most recent, Typography 35, is designed by Collins.
Founded in 1946 by some of the industry’s leading practitioners, the TDC’s earliest membership included Aaron Burns, Will Burtin, Freeman Craw, Louis Dorfsman, Gene Federico, Edward M. Gottschall, Herb Lubalin, Edward Rondthaler, Bradbury Thompson, and Hermann Zapf. With this solid historical background, the TDC today represents and rewards the best of today’s type design and type use. Founding member Milton Zudek described the club’s goals at their first exhibit opening in 1947: “We simply want to make more and more advertising people aware of the importance of the agency typographer. We want them to realize that the selection of type for an advertisement demands a sixth sense that goes beyond the basic knowledge of typefaces—that it demands, in effect, the same kind of artistic sense that people have learned to associate with Art Directors, but are still learning to associate with Type Directors.” Speaking that same night, Paul Lang, a member of the Art Directors Club remarked, “When I began, artists were called layout men, renderers or finishers. When we insisted upon being called art directors, the advertising execs would say, ‘Call yourselves anything you like, but give us what we want.’ By the same token, if type directors keep calling themselves just that, they will, in time, be recognized for what they actually do contribute.”
Education has always been an important part of the Type Directors Club’s mission. The TDC began offering lectures in 1947, the second year of the Club’s existence. Called Ten Talks on Type, the lectures were given by James Secrest, Arnold Bank, Gene Ettenberg, Charles Felton, Milton Zudeck, O. Alfred Dickman, Joseph Weiler, Frank Powers, and Hal Zamboni. The series’ success led to it becoming an annual event. In 1958, the Club extended its reach to an international day-long seminar at the Silvermine Artists Guild in New Canaan, Connecticut, which drew 500 attendees.
In 1959, the TDC ran Typography USA at the Biltmore Hotel in Manhattan. Speakers included Saul Bass, Herbert Bayer, Lester Beall, Will Burtin, Lou Dorfsman, Alvin Eisenmann, Gene Federico, William Golden, Allen Hurlburt, Leo Lionni, Herb Lubalin, Paul Rand, Ladislav Sutnar, and Bradbury Thompson.
Among the many speakers and teachers in the intervening years have been Aaron Burns, Klaus Schmidt, Ed Gottschall, Tom Carnase, Bruno Brugnatelli, Milton Glaser, Hermann Zapf, Eileen Hedy Schultz, Ed Benguiat, Olaf Leu, Martin Solomon, Günter Gerhard Lange, and Freeman Craw.
As of 2016, the president of the Type Directors Club is Doug Clouse. Paul Carlos is vice president. Bobby C. Martin, Secretary/Treasurer. Matteo Bologna is chairman of the board. Carol Wahler is executive director.
Past presidents include: Frank Powers, Milton Zudeck, Alfred Dickman, Joseph Weiler, James Secrest, Gustave Saelens, Arthur Lee, Martin Connell, Gene Ettenberg, Edward Gottschall, Saadyah Maximom, Louis Lepis, Gerard O'Neill, Zoltan Kiss, Roy Zucca, William Streever, Bonnie Hazelton, Jack Tauss, Klaus Schmidt, John Luke, Jack Odette, Ed Benguiat, Allan Haley, B. Martin Pedersen, Mara Kurtz, Mark Solsburg, Daniel Pelavin, James Montalbano, Gary Munch, Alex W. White, Charles Nix, Diego Vainesman, Graham Clifford and Matteo Bologna.
The TDC has over 800+ members, from 36 countries under four different membership categories that consist of: Honorary Members (those who have made a significant contribution to the fields of type and typography with an honorary membership); Life Members (working professionals at or above retirement age who have been members for more than twenty consecutive years); Full Members and Student Members.
Notable members are: Gail Anderson, Ed Benguiat, Michael Bierut, Roger Black, Ed Brodsky, Kevin Cantrell, Matthew Carter, Tony Di Spigna, Louise Fili, Jessica Hische, Donald Jackson, Henrik Kubel, Zuzana Licko, Domenic Lippa, Bruno Maag, Abbott Miller, Debbie Millman, Jean Francois Porchez, Dan Rhatigan, Paula Scher, Hermann Schmidt, Bertram Schmidt-Friderichs, Paul Shaw, Erik Spiekermann, Sumner Stone, Jurek Wajdowicz, Garson Yu and the late Adrian Frutiger and Hermann Zapf.
Through memberships the TDC is able to generate events, create educational articles and videos, and establish scholarship funds to jump start the next generation of type enthusiasts.
Since the 1950s the TDC has been holding two yearly type competitions: one for the use of type and the letterform in design and the other, typeface design. The winners are reproduced in the Typography Annual, as well as displayed in seven exhibits that travel worldwide. In addition to celebrating outstanding achievements, the typography competitions and resulting annuals serve as important historical records of typographic trends, and are an invaluable resource for both designers and scholars.
Type design awards
The Type Directors Club Type Design Awards or TDC2 are given annually for excellence in typeface design. The award is generally viewed as being the most prestigious in the field.
TDC Beatrice Warde Scholarship
In 2015 the TDC, in partnership with Monotype Imaging, created a scholarship to honor the first female member of the TDC, Beatrice Warde. At the TDC61 and TDC2015 opening reception on July 14, 2015 the TDC Beatrice Warde Scholarship was awarded to American design student, Rebecca Bartola, student at Central St Martins, London. Rebecca was presented the scholarship by Julie Strawson of Monotype and TDC's executive director Carol Wahler.
On July 12, 2016 during the TDC62 and TDC2016 opening reception in New York, the second Beatrice Warde Scholarship was awarded to Ania Wieluńska, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.