The global organization's highest honor recognizes individuals and institutions who have made outstanding contributions to typography.
NEW YORK, Nov. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Type Directors Club, the world's leading typography organization, announced Akira Kobayashi, creative type director at Monotype, as this year's recipient of its highest honor, the prestigious TDC Medal.
First awarded to Hermann Zapf in 1967, the TDC Medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of typography. The honor represents TDC's collective gratitude to those who have demonstrated the value of typography in communication, community, and culture through their work and talent. The list of past TDC Medalists can be viewed here.
"I was surprised to hear that I had been chosen to receive the TDC Medal, whose past recipients include my heroes in the field of type design. I am deeply honored and humbled to have my nearly 40 years of career recognized in this way," said Kobayashi. "I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all my teachers and colleagues, past and present, for their guidance and encouragement, and to my parents and family for their unwavering support. Without them, I would never have achieved this honor."
Kobayashi is a leading figure in the field, with nearly four decades of experience and an extensive background in Japanese and Latin typeface design.
After studying at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, he accepted his first job at phototypesetting manufacturer Sha-Ken Co., where he was involved in the lengthy and intricate process of designing Japanese fonts. He then studied calligraphy at the London College of Printing. Akira worked at Jiyu-kobo Ltd and Japan TypeBank Co. Ltd before becoming a freelance type designer.
In 2002, Kobayashi released Optima Nova – a modernization of Hermann Zapf's Optima design – and in 2009, partnered with fellow TDC Medalist Adrian Frutiger to update his eponymous typeface family, Neue Frutiger.
In 2017 he directed the development of Tazugane Gothic, Monotype's first original Japanese typeface. Throughout his career, he has designed more than 50 font families, including DIN Next and Akko Pro, and worked with major brands, including Sony, UBS, and Panasonic. One of his latest achievements was the release of Shorai Sans earlier this year, a typeface to expand horizons within the Japanese type landscape. Shorai Sans was designed as a companion typeface to Avenir® Next, built to work harmoniously in global designs.
Kobayashi is a frequent speaker at type conferences and workshops around the world, has won numerous awards, and has served as a judge in prestigious international type design competitions, including the TDC typography competition in 2004.
"Akira is the epitome of a TDC Medalist: a person who excels in typographic design and is passionately devoted to fostering creative excellence in the field," said Carol Wahler, executive director of TDC. "On behalf of the global type community, we are proud to recognize him for his exemplary accomplishments and contributions."
To honor this special occasion, TDC collaborated with the design tool Readymag on "The Faces Behind Typefaces," a deep-dive into the impact and legacy of the TDC Medal and past medalists.
The One Club for Creativity, producer of The One Show, ADC Annual Awards, Type Directors Club competitions, TDC Ascenders, Young Guns and Creative Week, is the world's foremost non-profit organization whose mission is to support and celebrate the global creative community. Revenue generated from these awards shows are put back into the industry to fund dozens of DEI, Education, Gender Equality, and Creative Development programs.