International Society of Typographic Designers 2016

I travelled to DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology) Grangegorman last weekend, 5 March 2016 for the Annual ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers) Student Assessment. Every year design students from across Ireland take part in what Erik Spiekermenn described ‘The Most rigorous and honest assessment in the world. No personal likes/dislikes can affect the outcomes.’ The students answer one of 5 ISTD briefs to which they may use a number of mediums and outcomes. When assessing we look for strong concept with comprehensive typographic exploration.

On arrival we have a chance to grab some breakfast and catch up before beginning the assessments. This year I was paired with Jamie Murphy from Salvage Press, a typographer and letterpress printer and all round great guy. The briefs are outlined below.

Project 1: A life’s work

Celebrate the life’s work of Adrian Frutiger. Create a prestigious ‘publication’ (digital/physical or both) that celebrates the life and work of Adrian Frutiger.

Project 2: The Undiscovered Country…

‘Stare death in the face’ and find out everything there is to know about it. Consider international, societal, scientific, religious, historical, statistical, cultural, literary and poetic touch-points within your research, before determining your approach.

Project 3: Visualising Music

Using Philip Glass’ opera Einstein on the Beach as your source material, you are asked to investigate different ways of making visual typographic notations in order to create a music score for this work.

Project 4: Eye Witness

Your task is to translate a written, first person account of a significant event, into a typographic experience that is designed as a site-specific installation in the gallery of your choice.

Project 5: And the winner is…

Celebrate the Nobel Prize. You may wish to propose the design for a suite of publications that highlight the various categories of awards; perhaps a prestigious publication that investigates the life and work of a selection of Nobel Laureates; or a very focused approach looking at a specific category e.g. the prize for literature.

Yet again the standard of work for Ireland is exceptional with a number of students passing the bar and one merit awarded from myself and Jamie. I thoroughly enjoy the assessments and believe that this institution greatly benefits the design community, raising standards in typographic practice across the globe.