The Rules typographic ornament The Rules


Early Bird Deadline

Standard Deadline

Late Deadline


Eligible Entries

Any new typeface designs produced or published between January 1 and December 31, 2019 are eligible. Typeface designs may be submitted by anyone involved in their design, production, or marketing. Typefaces created for the TDC, by the chair or jurors of the competition are not eligible for entering.

Ineligible Entries

Extended or revised versions of older, previously published type designs are not eligible. This includes upgraded typefaces with newly expanded glyph sets in the original script (e.g., with added Latin glyph subsets, design variants, small capitals, ligatures, swashes, alternates, numerical styles, expert, localized and historical forms, stylistic sets, ornaments). However, designs that have authorized additions of scripts other than the original (e.g., from Latin to Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, Armenian, Thai, Han/Kanji, etc.) are eligible.

Designs published before January 1, 2019 are not eligible.

Entry Formats

Proof Format

  • Entries are to be submitted as US Tabloid (portrait or landscape; 11×17 in. / 279×430 mm) or A3 (297×420 mm) unmounted paper proofs.
  • Please ensure high enough print quality to judge your work appropriately. Each entry may include up to a maximum of 12 proof pages.
  • Proofs may include, but are not limited to, headlines, short or long passages of text, sample pages or double-page spreads of book or magazine make-up, or multi-column text.
  • Proofs should demonstrate how the typeface was designed to be used.

  • The requirements for proofs are:

  • Non-identification

    To ensure anonymous and fair judgement of entries, the names of the typeface, designer, client, manufacturer or distributor must not appear anywhere on the front or on the back of the proof.

  • Character Showings

    Proofs should show as complete a character set as possible given the size of the design's glyph complement and the number of styles in the submission. In the case of complex extended multi-script character sets, ensure that the showing is comprehensive enough to allow the jury to judge the design appropriately.

  • Complex System Showings

    Submissions of text and display Type Superfamilies should follow the above guidelines, but may feature more than one font or style in each showing.

  • Marking of Entries

    Entries must be clearly marked, in the front, upper left-hand corner of each sheet, with the appropriate Family, Competition, Script, and Design categorizations as detailed in the Categories section.

    Marking examples:

    • Single, Display, Latin, Original
    • Type Family, Text, Latin, Original
    • Type Superfamily, Type System, Custom system for a major news corporation
    • Single, Display, Armenian, Authorized extension of a Latin design

  • PDF Uploads

    To ensure proper printing by the TDC, please observe the following rules and guidelines:

    • Format the originating document to US Tabloid (portrait or landscape; 11×17 in. / 279×430 mm). Allow for a one-quarter inch (6.35mm) margin for printer compatibility. A3 format documents will clip or scale inappropriately when printed to US Tabloid.
    • Either vertical or horizontal formats are permitted.
    • Each entry must be in a separate PDF.
    • Each entry PDF with more than one page must be a single multiple-page PDF.
    • Security settings must be set to allow full resolution printing without passwords. However, security settings may be set to prevent operations other than printing.
    • PDF entries must use embedded subsetted settings for fonts, to ensure that outlines, not bitmaps, are printed.
    • Non-embeddable fonts must not be converted to outlines; please generate embeddable versions for this competition PDF.
    • PDF file names will be altered to match the automatic control number generated by the TDC upload facility. This will ensure anonymity when TDC deals with your design file.

Entry Categories


The Family categorization is to be used for the purpose of determining entry fees, in US$. Typefaces may be entered as Single Typefaces or as parts of larger, related bodies of work.

  • Single Typeface

    Individual typefaces designed to stand alone, with no stylistic variants.

  • Type Family

    Typefaces designed and entered for competition with stylistic variants such as roman, italic, bold, or small capitals. Up to and including eight variants are allowed.

  • Type Superfamily

    Typeface designs that comprise more than eight closely-related variants are considered Type Superfamilies; Superfamilies also include Pi and Dingbat fonts that are stylistically related to the main alphabetic or ideographic typeface designs, as well as variable fonts.

  • Competition

    This category refers to the intended function of the submitted design and will determine the typeface’s area of competition.

  • Text

    Single Typefaces and Type Families, featuring full character sets, intended for use in the composition of text for continuous reading.

  • Display

    Typefaces and Type Families featuring full or reduced character sets, intended for use in larger sizes rather than body text.

  • Type System

    Extensive groups of related typefaces featuring separate designs for text and display composition, or groups of related typefaces featuring designs belonging to different style categories, such as serif and sans-serif, serif and slab serif, and serif and semi-serif. Digital fonts in Multiple Master or in OpenType format often fall within this subcategory.

  • Pi or Ornament

    Typefaces featuring special character sets for mathematical, phonetic, and other specialized applications, as well as ding-bats, icons, symbols, and other pictorial items in a font format. Ornament and border designs are also included in this subcategory.

  • Script

  • Latin

    Typefaces intended for use in Latin-based orthographies have historically made up the majority of submissions.

  • Global (Non-Latin)

    Typefaces created for alphabets or writing systems other than Latin are eligible, and should be entered in the appropriate Family, Competition, and Design categories. As necessary, experts in the relevant global (Non-Latin) scripts may be invited by the jury for consultation.

  • Pi or Ornament

    Typefaces such as those created for use in the fields of music, mathematics, linguistics, logic, and other areas that require specialized character sets. Please indicate, in the front entry markings (see Marking of Entries), the field for which the typeface was designed.

  • Design

  • Original Design

    Typeface designs that are original and not derived from pre-existing designs or from existing typeface font software. In a case where the submitted design is derived from pre-existing material, the typeface would fall into the Revivals subcategory, and must adhere to that category’s requirements.

  • Custom Design

    Custom or proprietary typefaces that are designed for private use instead of resale. Custom designs may include typefaces produced for use by a specific designer or a design firm, as well as those for corporate or other non-design clients. If the type design is based on an existing typeface, please identify the design source. Please specify the intended use without identifying the client (for example, “a text typeface created for a financial newspaper”).

  • Revival

    Typeface design revivals that are based on, and closely follow, the designs of pre-existing typefaces must be accompanied by assurances that the revival is authorized and approved by the originator of the design, or by the current holder of the rights to the typeface designs.

Professional Category

All Typeface Design entries are included in the professional category with the exception of student assignments.

Student Category

Typeface Design entry MUST be a student assignment completed in 2019 to qualify.

No Extension Design Category

Extension designs (added styles, added weights, added ornaments, etc.) that are substantially based on existing designs that are themselves not eligible for entry (e.g., older than 1 January 2019) are no longer considered eligible for judging in the 23rd Annual TDC Typeface Design Competition. Only new designs are acceptable.

PDF Submissions

PDFs must be submitted through the TDC competition website.

Family Entry Category Notes

For the purposes of determining entry and publication and hanging fees, individual dingbat, symbol, and pi or ornament fonts are treated as equivalent to Single Entries.


Entries must be delivered to the TDC offices by
Friday, January 10, 2020, Noon EST

All entries, together with fees, and one payment form, must be delivered to:

23rd Annual TDC Typeface Design Competition / Type Directors Club
347 West 36 Street, Suite 603
New York, NY 10018

If more than one package is shipped, this must be indicated outside each package, e.g. “1 of 2”. Packages must be delivered prepaid. Non-U.S. contestants should mark each package “Printed Matter for contest entry. No commercial value”. No provision will be made by TDC for U.S. Customs or airport pickup. Any customs fees will be charged back to the entrant.




Only winners will be notified the week of February 3rd, 2020 by email.


Entries selected by the jury will receive Certificates of Typographic Excellence. They will be exhibited in the 66th TDC Exhibition and appear in Typography 41. The opening of TDC66 will be held in New York City and will be on display during the summer of 2020. Winners will be asked to supply digital files of the winning entries for use in Typography 41.

Travel Exhibition Material

Winners will also be asked to supply eight (8) additional copies of winning entries for use in exhibitions outside New York. These shows travel throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asian countries. Credits of individuals and firms that have contributed to each entry will be included in the exhibitions and in Typography 41. By entering you hereby grant TDC permission to use, display and send the submitted Works in traveling shows.

Credits will be requested for selected pieces.


Entry is declared to be a 2019 production.

I hereby grant the TDC irrevocable permission to show the work(s) in exhibitions, on the TDC website, and to publish it/them in the TDC annual and other publications including uses resulting in monetary benefit to TDC. I also grant an irrevocable right permitting TDC to use images of work(s) in all forms of publicity and marketing for the TDC, in competition and exhibitions. I further grant TDC a right to use my name and image solely in connection therewith.

I hereby represent and warrant that the materials I submit to the competition(s) and their publications are my original work and will not infringe upon any personal, property or intellectual rights (i.e., copyright, trademark, and patent) of others and that I have full power to enter into this agreement and that all information is accurate and I hereby hold the TDC harmless from any breach of a representation and warranty made herein and any action arising from my submission and entry material and information.