RGD's Top 10

The Future of Type

by RGD

October 16, 2015

Industry leaders in type and lettering design swap stories and spark national discussion at RGD’s "Future By Design: The Future of Type"






For the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD)’s latest webcast, over 700 attendees across Canada joined local discussion groups to hear from panelists Jessica Hische, Ellen Lupton, Nick Sherman and Laura Worthington on grids, responsive design, custom lettering and surviving trends in the world of type.


On September 30, panelists connected from their homes and offices in New York, San Francisco and Washington to reach screening venues in St. John’s, Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and other cities where participants had the opportunity to screen the presentation and pose questions to the panelists. The event is part of RGD’s ongoing series, Future By Design, which takes place throughout the year.



The event began with Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, discussing the use of grids – how they exist today and how they will evolve as design techniques shift. Following from Ellen’s presentation, co-founder of Fonts In Use Nick Sherman presented on responsive design and the use of variable fonts. Then typeface designer Laura Worthington shared her take on the past, present and future of script typeface design, and presentations wrapped up with lettering artist Jessica Hische on how to survive design trends.


Here are RGD’s Top 10 insights from "The Future of Type":

  1. “There’s often a disconnect between client and designer, but just because someone isn’t in the creative industry doesn’t mean they aren’t creative — be open to clients’ solutions, be willing to collaborate.” – Jessica Hische 
  1. “Using a grid or structure is not about building a prison, it’s more like creating a playground for your content.” – Ellen Lupton
  1. “Many elements of web design are very fluid — the page shape, paragraph, headings, etc. can react to the context. But the micro-details of a typeface like weight and width are fixed elements. They are frozen ice cubes in a fluid sea.” – Nick Sherman
  1. “The more we interact digitally, the more we have a need for the tangible, the handmade. Hand-lettered typefaces fill that need.” – Laura Worthington
  1. “You’ll survive a trend if you’re working harder than most people are willing to work. Make it your mission to create strong and diverse work.” – Jessica Hische
  1. “To be able to directly engage with content is a liberating thing. Everybody should have the opportunity to directly manipulate content.” – Ellen Lupton
  1. “Get a good idea of where you land on the spectrum from director to pixel pusher. Know your place when you begin a project and be comfortable wherever you happen to land.” – Nick Sherman
  1. “The reason for purchasing an expensive typeface is exclusivity, which is incredibly important. The purpose of branding is differentiation, and custom typefaces provide that.” – Laura Worthington
  1. “If designers are pigeonholed, illustrators are major pigeonholed. Clients hire you with an expectation that you’ll be consistent. What I love about type and lettering is that there’s so much more diversity — it doesn’t need to be the same every time. In fact, it’s supposed to be different.” – Jessica Hische
  1. “If you’re not thinking about the user and the reason why something exists, you’re missing the point.”– Nick Sherman



For more discussion from "Future By Design: The Future of Type," search the hashtag #rgdFBD on Twitter. The next Future By Design will be on December 8 exploring “Research in the Digital Age” (details coming soon!).

Click here to find out more about hosting a discussion group in your city.


The Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) promotes professional standards in the graphic design industry and authors a Top 10 list on the Applied Arts website. 


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