Ask any designer (well, any designer that I have spoken to) and they agree that the TDC annuals are the best. They are also among the precious few still publishing printed books. But when TDC started giving out awards for Typographic Design Excellence in 1954 the documentation was a pamphlet. According to TDC Carol Wahler, the first exhibition was open to members only and no catalog exists. The second and third below spread a wider net. To see the work and read the names of the entrants is quite thrilling. Most were male designers (who was Ellen Rankin?), many with recognizable names. Very few are still alive (like Bob Gill, George Tscherny and Lou Danziger; but does anyone recall Arnold Varga, a forgotten talent). The work is smartly conceived and timeless yet contemporary. And look at the TDC logo by Hal Zamboni back then — it could have been done today, don’t you think?
About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →