Q + A with Typography & Lettering Judges Bobby C. Martin Jr. and Jennifer Kinon

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Don’t miss your chance to enter the Print Typography & Lettering Awards. This isn’t just a competition for classic type designers: We’re looking for projects that feature great uses of type by any designer. We’re looking for handlettered work. And, of course, we’re looking for original typefaces built from the ground up. Enter today.

We all know that a lot can come out of attending university—from dream careers to stellar portfolios and lifelong friends. For Bobby C. Martin Jr. and Jennifer Kinon, it was all of the above. The two met while pursuing their MFAs in design at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. “Steve Heller’s program turned our worlds upside down,” recounts Martin. “We’ve been doing this ever since.”

In 2010, Martin and Kinon co-founded OCD: The Original Champions of Design. Now, the duo is bringing their typographic expertise to Print as judges of the 2016 Typography & Lettering Awards.

(Have you seen OCD’s Print 75 poster? Check out their’s and many more here.)

Meet Bobby C. Martin and Jennifer Kinon: Typography Nerds and Strategy Wonks


Do you have a driving philosophy behind your work?

Heart & Guts & Grit.

How would you describe your style? How has it developed over the years?

We’re type nerds and strategy wonks—that has never changed. It has always been more about outcome than style.

What has been your biggest challenge working in this field? How do you move past roadblocks?

The designers who came ahead of us really fought for a place at the table. Now we’re fighting to demonstrate the measurable value of design in such a data-heavy moment.

What would be impossible for you to give up?

Bobby: We have been working without Jennifer at OCD for the past year and a half, while she has been leading the design for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. We’re never letting go of her again.

Jennifer: And I never want to leave again!

What makes you most excited about the work you do?

Every project is even more exciting than the last. Working with our incredible team makes us better every day.

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Is there a project of which you’re the most proud? Why this one?

We’re incredibly proud of our work for Girl Scouts because it was our first project together.

Any projects you’re working on right now that are particularly exciting?

All of them.

Did you ever expect to make it to where you are now?

Bobby: We never knew what to expect, but we knew we couldn’t get anywhere if we didn’t take chances.

Jennifer: No … We still mostly live by the say “no” to nothing rule. It’s all a crazy, surprising adventure.

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What’s next for you?

We’re just going to keep grinding away.

As a judge for the Typography & Lettering Awards, what are you looking for from designers? What stands out to you in the work of others?

Craft and wit. Make it good and make it memorable.

If you had to boil it down, what’s the key to successful typefaces?

We’re looking for typefaces that show creativity. How is the type doing something new and innovative. We’ll be paying close attention to detail, looking for an exceptional level of craft and care. Lastly, will be checking for balance and consistency. How do the forms work individually as well as a full set?

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