NEW YORK, USA — The Type Directors Club, the world’s leading typography organization, announced Monotype Creative Type Director Akira Kobayashi 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, by their work and talent, have demonstrated the value of typography in communication, community, and culture.
“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 Akira 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.”
He is a leading figure in the field, with three decades of experience, an extensive background in Japanese and Latin typeface design, and a deep understanding of calligraphy.
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 and later worked as a freelance type designer.
Akira Kobayashi released Optima Nova – a modernization of Hermann Zapf’s Optima design – in 2002, and seven years later 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.