Our History

The Type Directors Club is the leading international organization whose purpose is to support excellence in typography, both in print and on screen.

Founded in 1946 by some of the industry’s leading practitioners, the TDC’s earliest membership included Aaron Burns, Will Burtin, Freeman Craw, Louis Dorfsman, Gene Federico, Edward M. Gottschall, Herb Lubalin, Edward Rondthaler, Bradbury Thompson, and Hermann Zapf. With this solid historical background, the TDC today represents and rewards the best of today’s type design and type use.

Judges review work submitted to TDC63 at Parsons The New School in New York City in January 2017

The TDC holds two yearly type competitions: one for the use of type and the letterform in design and the other, typeface design. The winners are reproduced in our Typography Annual, published by Verlag Herman Schmidt and sold in the TDC Shop, as well as displayed in seven exhibits that travel worldwide. In addition to celebrating outstanding achievements, the typography competitions and resulting annuals serve as important historical records of typographic trends, and are an invaluable resource for both designers and scholars.

Jakarta designers welcome the TDC62 traveling exhibition to their city in August 2017.

Education has always been an important part of the Type Directors Club’s mission. The TDC began offering lectures in 1947, the second year of the Club’s existence. Called Ten Talks on Type, the lectures were given by James Secrest, Arnold Bank, Gene Ettenberg, Charles Felton, Milton Zudeck, O. Alfred Dickman, Joseph Weiler, Frank Powers, and Hal Zamboni. The series’ success led to it becoming an annual event. In 1958, the Club extended its reach to an international day-long seminar at the Silvermine Artists Guild in New Canaan, Connecticut, which drew 500 attendees.

In 1959, the TDC ran Typography USA at the Biltmore Hotel in Manhattan. Speakers included Saul Bass, Herbert Bayer, Lester Beall, Will Burtin, Lou Dorfsman, Alvin Eisenmann, Gene Federico, William Golden, Allen Hurlburt, Leo Lionni, Herb Lubalin, Paul Rand, Ladislav Sutnar, and Bradbury Thompson.

Among the many speakers and teachers in the intervening years have been Aaron Burns, Klaus Schmidt, Ed Gottschall, Tom Carnase, Bruno Brugnatelli, Milton Glaser, Hermann Zapf, Eileen Hedy Schultz, Ed Benguiat, Olaf Leu, Martin Solomon, Günter Gerhard Lange, and Freeman Craw.

The current lecture and class schedule offered by the TDC continues apace. The Education Committee has been developing course offerings at all levels of proficiency that reflect today’s needs and interests, and the Event Committee continues scheduling monthly Type Salons in our Manhattan space, which also features exhibitions of typography throughout the year. Watch many of our recent salons here, and take a look at recent exhibitions and club activities on our Flickr site.

The TDC is the home for typography—a physical meeting place and a strong professional affiliation. We welcome all in advertising, communications, education, marketing, and publishing who have a keen interest in type and the written word: graphic designers, art directors, editors, multimedia professionals, students, and entrepreneurs.

Download a PDF of the Type Directors Club Bylaws.