Booklet by Willoughby Design Showcases 6 Classic Typefaces

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Neenah recently released a sweet new promotional project by Willoughby Design that beautifully showcases six classic typefaces. The 9.5″ x 12″ booklet—called “Fresh Takes on Classic Type”—not only contains 6 spreads of lovely graphic work, but also a fun little interactive experience associated with each typeface.


PRINT got the chance to run a few questions by Ann Willoughby about the project:

What was it that Neenah wanted you to achieve with the design of the promotion? (e.g. what was your brief/goal?) How does your design solution align with the brand in the finished result?

Neenah initially asked us to identify 10 classic typefaces that would pair with “The Perfect Ten” — the 10 featured colors in the Neenah CLASSIC® palette. The audience is primarily designers so we wanted to find a way to engage them in a fresh way. By focusing on contemporary typography designers, we were able to tell the story of how new digital typefaces evoke classic analog printing technologies while freeing designers from the limitations of traditional typesetting. Once the direction was approved, we discovered that most of The Classic Ten could be featured with six stories.


Typeface: Buttermilk & Brioche by Jessica Hische @jessicahische


Typeface: Homestead by Luke Lisi @lisidesign

How did the paper play into the design? (e.g. is it integral to the design?) And, what was the thinking behind which papers went with which designs?

We wanted to showcase “The Perfect Ten,” a selection of 10 Neenah CLASSIC colors that unifies the four CLASSIC brands (CLASSIC CREST®, CLASSIC® Linen, CLASSIC® Laid, and CLASSIC COLUMNS® Papers). Telling the story while featuring four brands, ten colors and various weights took some creative finesse. It was a complex challenge to design a book where the paper choices on each spread felt natural and not forced. For example, the typewriter spread features five writing and text weights, five colors and several finishes. The smaller “letters” appear to be coming out of the typewriter and each can be removed. Each letter tells a delightful story about the history of the many typefaces designed for the typewriter.


Typeface: HWT ARTZ by Erik Spiekermann @espeikermann


Typeface: Various typewriter fonts

What was your favorite part of working on this project?

Without a doubt, our favorite part was the collaboration and thrill we shared as each spread came to life. Working through the story while making just the right paper and construction choices was a challenge. Angela Synder, Senior Designer at Willoughby Design, headed up the collaboration and made sure every decision was made with creative deliberation.


Typeface: Big Caslon by Matthew Carter


Typeface: Roto by Nicole and Petra Kapitza @kapitza

How did you go about selecting the typefaces—the “new classics”?

We started with about 25 designers/typefaces that ranged from classic to contemporary. There were several designers that we wanted to include from day one: legendary type designers like Matthew Carter and Erik Spiekermann. We also sought some diversity and thus selected type by female designers Jessica Hische and Nicole and Petra Kaptiza. And we wanted to include lesser-known designers like Luke Lisi who decided to share his typeface through the open source economy. Alyson Kuhn, our writer partner, suggested the typewriter spread as it perfectly demonstrated a return to our analog past through reimagined digital typewriter typefaces.

How long did it take to put this book together?

The Neenah project started in January 2016, it was a 5-6 month process.

What unifying elements can be found throughout the booklet to tie the different designs together?

Color, type and layout were carefully integrated into the design to unify the overall impact. Most of the spreads also stand on their own in harmony with the typefaces that were used. Interactivity is the one unique device that unifies the various spreads. Almost every spread has some tactile element. Buttermilk and Brioche features a coffee sleeve that is reusable. HWT ARTZ makes a great desk poster. Homestead has pullout letterforms. The typewriter spread has five pages that are a delight to remove and read. Big Caslon features a foldout piece of wrapping paper, and the dingbats are perforated so that the reader can build an Eames-inspired card tower. There is a sense of discovery and joy throughout the book.

Put Your Type to the Test.

All too often, typography gets overlooked in larger design competitions—which is why we developed one that gives the artforms their full due and recognizes the best designers in each category. Whether you design your own typefaces, design type-centric pieces or create gorgeous handlettered projects, we want to see your work—and share it with our readers.

Enter today for a chance to be featured in Print magazine, receive a prize pack from, and more. Early bird rates for the competition—which features both pro and student categories—end Oct. 14.