What do a letterpressed book of ABCs and a publication reflecting on the multi-layered history of Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) have in common? Both have been awarded this year’s Award of Excellence in the 2019 Communication Arts Typography Annual Competition, and they were both created by faculty and an alumna of the graphic design program at RU-N.
In its 59th year, Communication Arts is one of the most prestigious publications and professional journals in the field of design and typography, with a circulation of over 25,000 readers among designers, art directors, design firms, corporate design departments, agencies, illustrators, photographers and everyone involved in visual communications.
The Communication Arts Typography Annual Competition is extremely fierce; this year, 128 projects were selected by a jury of creative professionals from a field of 1,653 submissions. The School of Arts & Sciences-Newark (SASN) boasts, not one, but two winning entries.
Newark Rhythms/Making a Place book
Designed by Chantal Fischzang, assistant professor in the Arts, Culture and Media department, and produced by Shine Portrait Studio, Making a Place: Rhythms, Ruptures and Rutgers in 1960’s Newark expands on an exhibit created by Eva Giloi, associate professor in the History department.
“Making a Place: Rutgers University-Newark as a Microcosm of 1960s America,” was first showcased at John Cotton Dana Library. The publication reinterprets archival material about the intentions and process of the campus’ construction into a self-reflection on the university’s post-war legacy and contrasting effects on the city.
Fischzang’s design corresponds to the narrative about modernist architecture, interjecting subversive typography to reinforce connections between words, photographs and graphics. Funded by a Chancellor’s Seed Grant, the publication forms the conceptual basis for Newark Rhythms’ multi-year public history, visual arts, and sonic-spatial arts project relating to the 1960s Rutgers University-Newark campus.
“This publication is a materialization of the university's self-reflection and it tells the story of the Modernist sensibilities and pragmatism involved in meeting the needs of the institution, said Fischzang. "However, Making a Place is also built as an acknowledgment that its architecture was not conceived with the surrounding community in mind."
She said winning the award validates her mission to practice socially aware design through collaborative engagement. Fischzang shares the award with Eva Giloi, the writer, and Ian Cofre, the editor of Making a Place.
"Achieved through a process within design called ‘co-building,’ the deliverable takes shape from the exchange of expertise between collaborators, and the medium becomes as much a reflection of the content as it is a vessel for the message," Fischzang said.
View images from the publication in the January/February 2019 issue of Communication Arts (Typography Annual 9)
Drew’s ABCs is a labor of love created by husband-and-wife team Ned Drew, professor in the Arts, Culture and Media department, and Brenda McManus (SASN ‘96), assistant professor at Pace University. Superficially speaking, Drew’s ABCs is a children’s book of ABCs. But the final product looks more like a work of art than something you’d give a child.
Created almost entirely by hand, the book is printed on a Vandercook letterpress using wood block images, type from the couple’s extensive personal collection, new images created from photographs, and other found objects. Each color is printed separately, so a single page spread can require as many as six runs through the press. The book is also trimmed, folded, and bound by hand. “As much as it is a children’s book and motivated by [our son] Drew, it is also about history and appreciation of typography and design,” says McManus.
The idea for the book first arose when the couple was expecting their son, Drew, for whom the book was named. Drew and McManus also wanted to bring to life their large collection of letterpress type. A book of ABCs seemed like a natural fit.
The couple also used the project as a teaching tool for their students, who helped with printing and production. “We know that learning this process and working in this way is the greatest way to sharpen one’s typography skills. When hand-setting type, the students notice the anatomy of the type, and become acutely aware of just how much detail matters in typography.”
Drew and McManus said the concept for the book is to expose the richness of diversity within typography and celebrate its differences. "We wholeheartedly embrace the imperfections as they unveil the history of each letterform. By drawing out these unique distinctions and differences, our goal is to impress upon the audience that we learn to see as we see to learn.”
View more images from the book in Communication Arts