Awarding our first TDC Beatrice Warde Scholarship

Last week at the TDC61 and TDC2015 opening reception we awarded our very first TDC Beatrice Warde Scholarship to American design student, Rebecca Bartola, who is currently studying at Central St Martins, London. Rebecca was awarded this prestigious scholarship on July 14th, by Julie Strawson of Monotype and our very own Carol Wahler.

We have been very excited about this scholarship, co-sponsored by Monotype, for many reasons. The main one being that we get to support young females who will soon be embarking into the design world. Secondly we get to honor and celebrate the fact that ‘the first lady of typography’, Beatrice Warde, was the first female member of the Type Directors Club.

Gail Anderson

Gail Anderson

Charles Harbison Spring 2014 Collection

Julie Strawson, Rebecca Bartola and Carol Wahler

Beatrice Warde, journalist, typographical scholar, and communicator on typography, enthusiastically believed in the merits of education, and championed them throughout her professional career with the Monotype Corporation. Her office was an open door for any person interested in typography, and numerous people in the initial stage of their careers began their education with a visit. Her steadfast aim was to help all people understand typography better, which remained her focus in nearly every one of her hundreds of essays, books, articles, and lectures throughout her career.

Beatrice Warde during the 1930s and 1940s with Frank Mortimer beside the bronze plaque of This is a printing Office

Beatrice Warde during the 1930s with Frank Mortimer beside the bronze plaque of ‘This is a printing Office’ at the U.S. Printing Government Printing Office in Washington. From ‘The Monotype Recorder’ (Title: ‘I am a communicator’) Vol. 44 no.1 Autumn 1970. Page 10. Copyright © 1970 Monotype Imaging Inc.

An all female committee was formed, that comprised of: Gail Anderson from Anderson + Newton and our TDC Scholarship Chair, Nadine Chahine from Monotype, Shelley Grueller from Type Camp and Dr. Fiona Ross from the University of Reading, UK. Together they developed questions to ask the students and juried the entries. Student entrants were required to submit a statement and three samples of work that they have completed during their school/university, at a grade point average of B or higher. The criteria for the scholarship extended across disciplines including design criticism, as well as type design and graphic design, since Beatrice Warde was a writer and educator who became the promoter of the Monotype works of her time. Just as Beatrice was trying to encourage best use of the technology of her time, the candidate’s work needed to demonstrate the application of typography to current media, not only print.

From the outset it was expected that committee members would likely go into three rounds of judging before deciding on the winner. This turned out not to be the case. Out of the total 94 entries, from 13 different countries, it was a unanimous landslide decision within the first round of judging of who was to be the winner. The scholarship was then awarded to Rebecca, whose work demonstrated exceptional talent, sophistication and skill in the use of typography.

We interviewed Rebecca to learn more about her, her motivations to enter and how she learned about the scholarship – read her full interview at the bottom of this article.

In addition to the $5,000 scholarship award, Rebecca will receive an one-year student membership for the TDC. The membership includes receiving the TDC annual ‘Typography 35’, keepsakes and invitations to all TDC programs.

Monotype and the Type Directors Club are proud to announce that after the success of the inaugural Beatrice Warde Scholarship, we will be offering this Scholarship again in January 2016.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the following people whose involvement in the Beatrice Warde Scholarship helped make it happen. Type Directors Club: TDC Scholarship Chair Gail Anderson (School of Visual Arts), Cara diEdwardo (The Cooper Union), Carol Wahler (TDC Executive Director) and Graham Clifford (TDC Chairman of the Board); Monotype: Nadine Chahine, Julie Strawson, Vikki Quick, Emma Tucker, Daniel Ratigan, James Fooks-Bale, Shelley Gruendler (Type Camp International), and Fiona Ross (University of Reading).

The TDC61 exhibition can be seen at Cooper Union Gallery 41. It is free to the public and open until August 6th, 2015 (10am to 5pm, Monday–Thursday).


Rebecca Bartola

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a student at Central Saint Martins in London about to enter my final year in the BA (Hons) Graphic Design: Design and Interaction course. I’m interested in practical applications of all forms of design, whether it’s code, illustration, or type. I also build websites, illustrate children’s books, and take care of a dachshund named Star when I’m not in class.

Briefly describe the 3 samples you submitted in your scholarship application.
Sample One: Handmade Stencil
I made this stencil over Christmas break as part of an optional Wednesday class run by one of our professors, Phil Baines. I drew inspiration from Louise Fili and Steven Heller’s book, Shadow Type, and mainly focused on a handful of art deco examples. From there I sketched the letterforms on grid paper, revised, battled with the shape of the ‘R’ and ‘O’, revised again, photocopied my drawings, traced them onto smelly stencil paper, cut them out with an X-ACTO blade, let my hand recover for a couple days, then painted the letters with a sponge.

Handmade stencil

Handmade stencil

Sample Two: Web Typography
I made this website in an effort to create a new reading experience that didn’t involve holding the physical text. It has the potential to help people with arthritic joints that may not want to hold books for long periods but still want to read. The webcam judges movement and turns the digital pages accordingly.

Web Typography

Web Typography

Sample Three: The Shard Book
As part of a conceptual class brief we had to turn a book into a building and a building into a book. I chose my favorite building in London’s skyline, The Shard. It’s a building that constantly responds to weather—on cloudy days the top disappears and on sunny days the color of the blue-tinted glass reflects the sky. I designed a book where the text slowly drops out as the reader progresses through the 72 pages that are engraved and cut in acrylic.

The Shard Book

The Shard Book

What got you interested in design and typography?
My parents are both designers in a nontraditional sense of the word and this really influenced me as a kid. My dad is an electrical engineer and is incredibly passionate about designing circuits. My mom designs beautiful quilts by organizing tiny bits of fabric into intricate geometric shapes.

I first became interested in the specific field of graphic design, albeit unwittingly, when I was working on my high school newspaper during my senior year. I loved working on the layout of the pages in Microsoft Publisher. I confused my love of working on the design of the newspaper with journalism. I didn’t know that there was a field called ‘graphic design’ until my second year in college.

My interest in typography began when I studied a copy of The Geometry of Type by Stephen Coles. The case studies of a hundred different types was both mesmerizing and informative.

What is your favorite typeface and why?
While I don’t have an all-time favorite typeface (usually if someone has a favorite, it’s Helvetica, or Helvetica Neue if they’re super hip), at the moment I’m in love with Tilda by Jessica Hische. The characters are absolutely beautiful and the type specimen is hilarious.

There’s a bunch of other typefaces that I enjoy using but it really changes on a project-by-project basis. I believe there’s an appropriate use for every (well-designed) typeface, and a typeface’s application should trump personal preference. There’s even a time and place for Comic Sans if it fulfills a brief.

Which female designers are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by the work of designers like Louise Fili, Jessica Hische, Paula Scher, Carol Devine Carson, Barbara de Wilde, Kelli Anderson, and, of course, Beatrice Warde. On a daily basis at school I am inspired by my design professors—Catherine Dixon, Sheena Calvert, Kira Salter—who not only support their students and are lovely human beings, but also produce intelligent, beautiful work in their own right.

How did you hear about the Beatrice Warde scholarship?
I heard about it through a tutor I follow on Twitter. I’m rarely on Twitter—I check my feed maybe once every three months—but when I went on earlier this year, a tweet about this new scholarship luckily caught my eye and I applied.

How could you help other women in the industry? 
Beatrice Warde was one of the first female role models in design. Seeing women such as Warde, Scher, and Hische in the industry makes it easier to imagine that becoming a successful, professional designer is equally as plausible for women as it is for men. One day I would like to share my passion for type and design with students as a teacher. This would allow me to support other women who are beginning their journey into the design industry. I would love to be able to help other women by becoming a mentor to others who wish to study graphic design and typography.

Twitter: @rebeccabartola
Instagram: @rebeccabartola