Monotype is one of the world’s best-known providers of type-related products. With a heritage that dates back to the late 19th century, today Monotype is behind the text we read in books, in the apps on our phones, on the goods we buy and in the games we play. So when they dreamed up the ultimate showcase for type fanatics to get up close and personal with artworks and artifacts spanning over a hundred years of type design, we knew it was something we had to be a part of.
The first installment of Monotype’s exhibition, Pencil to Pixel, took place in London. With ambitions to bring the exhibition to the North American market, Monotype partnered with Lippincott. Together, we set out to celebrate the world of type by creating two distinct experiences of historical and modern typeface design.
“By partnering with Lippincott for the New York exhibition, we were able to raise our profile and reach an audience previously inaccessible to us. The Lippincott team are dedicated perfectionists and their design experience was indispensable to us.”
— James Fooks-Bale, Creative Director, Monotype
Celebrating the past, present and future of typography
Our goal was to create an experience that was unique to New York but would also lay the foundation for an ongoing, city-to-city series. We limited the visual language to type alone, allowing the monochromatic design to build suspense and intrigue as exhibit-goers traveled through the space. In homage to the hustle and bustle of New York, “Welcome to Monotype One of Kind” was spelled out in true uninhibited, New York style across the walls and floor.
Once inside, the exhibit comprised two rooms, “Pencil” and “Pixel.” Each room had its own immersive experience — an experience that told the Monotype story while showcasing its storied portfolio of typefaces.
Within “Pencil,” original drawings for classic hot metal typefaces such as Centaur were on display as well as sketches by Eric Gill, the creator of Gill Sans. The room also featured never-before-seen, hand-cut photocomposition films for Neue Helvetica, alongside drawings for Times New Roman that were commissioned for The Times of London. In contrast, “Pixel” offered font fanatics a glimpse at where type is headed.
The show drew thousands of visitors over the course of the week, offering designers and non-designers alike a new appreciation for the craft of typography. No visitor left wondering its significance in shaping the art of communication.