Designing an annual for The Type Directors Club, the foremost compilation of its kind in the world, is a type designer’s dream come true. With that said, we couldn't resist the opportunity to play around a bit, and essentially experiment with the zeitgeist-defining power that such an influential institution wields.
What would happen, we wondered, if we took what’s considered a “lower” form of typography, like the while-you-wait calligraphy tourists buy for their mortified lovers in Central Park, and put it on the cover? Would playing with our audience's perceptions actually elevate kitsch to high art—or at least make it good type? We still don't know, but that's for the reader to judge.
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The world of typography is a collision of many different styles and tastes, so it was important that our cover reflect that diversity. We commissioned an authentic piece of street calligraphy from our friend Chen, who we met in Central Park, and used matte lamination together with coated paper and a 4-color process to reproduce his work. The spot-glossed Victorian type reveals itself only when reflecting light; it has a reputation to uphold, after all.
We extended this typographic diversity throughout the annual, marrying typefaces that would normally be at odds with each other and producing surprisingly harmonious results. And to reincorporate our love for street art, we commissioned charcoal caricatures for every judge of the year's competition.
In the spirit of our diabolical experiment, the Mucca team designed two bespoke typefaces for use throughout the annual. The first, Mucca Athenian, was inspired by a typeface found on the cover of a midcentury brochure unearthed from the TDC Archives. The second typeface, Mucca Zanna, reinterprets a sample of eccentric Victorian calligraphy that a street letterer in Central Park would surely appreciate.