Olivera Stojadinović Typefaces

08 - 30 September 2005

Programme coordinator: Marijana Petrović Raić, curator


It’s not easy for a typeface to earn the “ITC” prefix. The selection of new additions to the ITC typeface library is based on a combination of aesthetics and pragmatism. First, a typeface must be engaging – it must be visually appealing to graphic designers. It must also be distinctive – to stand out from the crowd of other typefaces. Finally, the typeface must be versatile – to enable it to solve a variety of graphic communications problems. The best typefaces are a successful melding of these criteria. It’s relatively easy for a designer to draw a typeface that stands out from the crowd, but its value is diminished if it cannot be put to good use in a wide range of applications. If a typeface is unattractive, graphic designers will tend not to use it. If a typeface has broad functionality but is not distinctive, designers will continue to use the designs they always have.

The ITC typeface library is a resource that has been built over 35 years. It is a combination of strictly display designs and faces that can be used in a wide range of sizes. The first designs were released when most independent typeface designers had turned their back on the craft. ITC was formed when the pirating of typeface designs was rampant. Typesetting, at the time, was done by photographic technology and all anyone had to do to copy a font was make reproduction of the original. If a phototype typeface became popular it was almost assuredly destined to be copied by other font providers and sold under a different name. The reason for all this piracy was that there was no cross licensing of typeface designs. Font providers, whether large foundries or small suppliers, refused to license their typeface designs to others. Independent typeface designers, then as now, relied on royalties as compensation for their work. Faced with the reality that their livelihood from the design of typefaces was so vulnerable, they began to look for other forms of work.

Aaron Burns, one of the three founders of ITC and the company’s driving force for many years, realized that this situation served no one – not the typeface design community, or the graphic communicators that used their typefaces. Burns’ idea for ITC was to encourage new typeface design, pay typeface designers a fair royalty and – most important – license the designs to any company that agreed to simple and equitable terms. Burns also knew that he had to provide the best typefaces if his plan was to succeed. Early on, he organized a review board to determine what typefaces went into the ITC library. The various members of the board would provide a wealth of typographic knowledge and experience, in addition to several points of view on typographic style and usage. Over the years, the review board varied in size and in frequency of meeting but its goals were always the same: to add faces to the ITC library that rich in value and wide in appeal.

While not every new release was a financial success, and some have faded from style over the years, the ITC typeface library is one of today’s most successful and well-respected typeface offerings.

Even though ITC receives hundreds of submissions a year, only a handful are selected to be part of the ITC Typeface library. The ITC Typeface Review Board is under no obligation to choose any designs and there is never pressure put on the board to release a new design to meet a marketing or promotional schedule. The board meets three to four times a year to review typeface submissions and make recommendations for additions to the ITC type library. Each submission is carefully considered and lengthy discussions among the board members are not uncommon. Each design is also considered on it’s own merit – not by who submitted it. Designs from established and successful typeface designers can be declined as easily as those from a first time designer.

The ITC Review Board first saw designs from Olivera Stojadinovic early in 2000. By November of that year, her typefaces Aspera and Rastko were released into the ITC typeface library. These were followed by Hedera, a year later, and the Resavska family in 2004. Soon, the Anima family will also be added to the ITC library. Each of Ms. Stojadinovic’s designs, to varying degrees, are influenced by her calligraphic lettering. In Resavska, the effect is a subtle undercurrent; while in Aspera, Hedera, and Rastko it is a lively and readily apparent energy. All of her designs elegantly fulfill ITC’s criteria of being engaging, distinctive and versatile. Resavska is a beautiful and easy to read design that performs exceptionally at a variety of sizes. Hedera is rough-hewn, yet elegant. Aspera is a lively and spontaneous. Rastko communicates with a sensitive rhythm. Anima is charming, provocative and a delight to read.

All of Olivera Stojadinovic’s typefaces are a lesson in grace, pulchritude and service to readers.

Allan Haley, Director of Words & Letters
International Typeface Corporation