ISTD 2018

Founded in 1928 by Vincent Steer, ISTD has pioneering roots. From as early as 1911 Steer described himself as an ‘advertising typographer’ on his business card. His background in printing had given him the opportunity to observe the trade in America, and he astutely recognised the need for creative typographer’s skill in a world where most ‘design’ was carried out through compositors’ layouts. He determined to develop the profession of typography in the UK and, to that end, brought together six other like-minded colleagues, for the first meeting of the British Typographers Guild, held at an Italian restaurant in Holborn London.

A new host for the 2018 ISTD assessments, which took place in the glorious Dublin Institute of Design – the longest established specialised design private third level college in the Republic of Ireland. There were 68 Irish ISTD entrants this year, with an incredible standard of work. The level of dedication from the students on reaching the submission is incredible and inspiring. The work this year raised the bar for Irish typographic design, the ideas, concepts and typographic craft proves the future of design in Ireland is bright.

ISTD board member Jonathan Doney FISTD joined the 2018 Irish Assessment. Jonathan Doney is an award winning book designer and educator; Jonathan was ISTD Education officer from 1995-2002 when he initiated the international development of the Student Assessment Scheme. He was ISTD Chair from 1004-2009 before taking up the role again in 2016. Jonathan is hugely passionate about typography – something which he hopes rubs off on to other people.

I was paired with Peter Maybury for the day’s assessments. Peter works as an artist, graphic designer, musician and educator. With formal training in visual communications in Dublin and London, his practice-based research has expanded to encompass design for print and screen, wayfinding systems, film, sound, artworks for exhibition, and curation. With a track record from more than 20 years working to the highest degree of excellence in visual communication and design for print and screen, his broad experience has developed into extensive knowledge taking in all aspects of design, editorial, pre-press and printing. It was great to get to know and work with Peter during the assessments; we found common ground in design, type and notably music – which made the assessments even more enjoyable. Also worth noting Peter’s former St Martin’s educator Jonathan Barnbrook, who made just as many appearances in the students research as Peter’s work did – fantastic for his ego – only joking!

Peter and I assessed nine submissions from the whole of Ireland with a fantastic range of typographic design, sparking debate and intrigue. Membership to the society is a fantastic achievement for any student in their final year of University and we had the pleasure of awarding membership to some outstanding submissions. The effort and dedication of the students was incredible, from the research to the final piece we assessed some beautifully finished books, abstract printed pieces, exhibition pieces, immersive and ambient projects. It’s incredibly exciting opening a students submission for the first time and finding out how they go to their final piece, going on the journey with them is as rewarding as examining the finer details in the end product.

As usual the hospitality and craic was excellent, meeting old friends and new, catching up and reviewing some excellent work. The location of the Dublin Institute of Design was perfect for a lunchtime stroll to view the Book of Kells at Trinity College and see the hoards of Rugby fans and tourists around the streets of Dublin. My fourth year running as an ISTD Assessor and I look forward to many more, especially with the 100th birthday looming. Long may it continue.