Century: 100 Years of Type in Design Exhibition Opens in New York City

The Century: 100 Years of Type in Design exhibition opens May 1, 2014, at the AIGA National Design Center in New York City, as part of AIGA’s celebration of its centennial year. Created by AIGA medalist and Pentagram partner Abbott Miller and produced and curated by Monotype, Century celebrates the integral role of type in design over the past 100 years. The exhibition runs through June 18, 2014, and is free and open to the public. Tickets for guided tours are available through EventBrite.

“With rare works and unique artifacts to view and experience, the Century exhibition celebrates the intersection of type and design,” explains James Fooks-Bale, Monotype’s creative director and co-curator of Century. “We are fortunate to have participation from some of the brightest designers, museum curators, disruptive thinkers and creative directors from museums, publishing houses and design companies around the world.”

The Century exhibition features rare and unique works from premier design organizations in the U.S. and England, including Monotype, AIGA, Pentagram, Mohawk Paper, The Type Directors Club, Condé Nast, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, The Type Archive, The Herb Lubalin Study Center at Cooper Union, Alan Kitching and The Museum of Printing.

“The Century exhibition provides the opportunity to see works by some of the most distinguished members in AIGA’s history, including Oswald Cooper, Herb Lubalin, William Addison Dwiggins, Bruce Rogers, Alexander Liberman, Milton Glaser, and Seymour Chwast,” said Richard Grefé, AIGA executive director. “Century is a tremendous affirmation for the contribution of creative professionals in enhancing all of our experience of the printed word, while enabling the design community to look back at our roots as designers and to look forward to ever-expanding opportunities.”

Bringing Century to Life
To create a unique experience for the AIGA Centennial, Monotype turned to Pentagram partner Abbott Miller. According to Miller, “We wanted to create an immersive environment that communicates the diversity of typographic form: the walls and ceilings are dotted with hundreds of typographic periods drawn from the Monotype library. The idea of multiplicity is reinforced in the graphic mark we created for the Century show, a letter ‘C’ rendered in segments of different Monotype fonts.

“Two animations we created extend this idea and are featured in the gallery,” Miller continues. “The first one, called ‘Fractured Century,’ cycles through hundreds of typefaces that move like the minute hand on a clock; the second animation, called ‘Full Stop,’ identifies all of the periods displayed on the walls and floor. Set to the pulsing sound of a heartbeat, the ‘Full Stop’ animation hints at the notion of type as the heart of graphic design.”

Free Tickets, Guided Tours and Lectures
The Century exhibition will be the hub of two months of presentations, lectures, workshops and receptions. A series of related workshops called Century Expanded will take place at the Type Directors Club and The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at Cooper Union in New York City. In addition, AIGA members and the public are invited to view the exhibition at a reception in conjunction with NYCxDesign on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the AIGA National Design Center.

Cover of the Monotype Recorder, Vol. 41, No. 2, 1958, featuring patterns built from individually cast border elements. Image courtesy of Monotype

Limited edition letterpress printed poster by Alan Kitching honoring Abram Games 1914–1996 using the Futura® LT Pro typeface, designed and printed by Alan Kitching. Image Courtesy Alan Kitching

A 1929 specimen book created for plant workers at the Condė Nast Printing Press Plant in Greenwich, Conn. Image courtesy of Condė Nast

An 1898 paper sample book produced by the Strathmore Paper Company, showing how foundry type and illustration blocks print on a variety of paper stocks. Image courtesy of Mohawk