The Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) has announced that Erin McLaughlin of New York will be the recipient of the 2011 SOTA Catalyst Award. The award was created by SOTA in 2010 to recognize a person thirty years of age or younger who demonstrates significant achievement and future promise in the field of typography. Erin will present her work and receive the award at TypeCon2011: Surge, taking place in New Orleans, July 5th–10th.

Winner
Erin McLaughlin, 26
New York, New York

The judges were unanimous in recognising the qualities of her Katari typeface design:

“This style of type requires great care to maintain recognisable letter structures within the apparently informal, roughly faceted outlines, and to affect the correct balance of weight and harmony between letterforms and across the various weights and style members of the font family. This has been accomplished very well, not only in the various weights of the Latin type but also in the Devanagari script companion.”

Erin Mclaughlin’s Katari Typeface

“The project is well presented, in a visually exciting specimen that mirrors the characteristics of the type design at the page level. The designer’s research into Indian writing systems and the historical development of their typography is demonstrated, but has not constrained her to follow safe, well-trod paths. In conclusion, Katari is a fine achievement, and especially remarkable for having been a student project. Erin McLaughlin is a young designer who fully deserves the encouragement of the SOTA Catalyst Award.”

This year SOTA is also extending honorable mention status to three individuals whom the judges wanted to acknowledge:

Honorable Mention
Ian Katz, 29
Dover, New Hampshire

Ian Katz

The judges were impressed by the approach taken by this self-confessed non-typographer to a practical problem: how to automate grouping of different typefaces based on design similarity, so that users can see them ‘in the context of the visual landscape they collectively form’. Ian Katz’s day job is creating software for underwater robots, and his FontClustr tool is an admirable example of an outsider’s analytical approach to the problem of typeface categorisation or grouping.

Kriti Monga Illustration

Honorable Mention
Kriti Monga, 30
New Delhi, India

If the SOTA Catalyst Award were presented solely on the grounds of passion and enthusiasm evident in the submission, Kriti Monga would have easily won. The judges were delighted by the examples of hand lettering, sketches and tattoos in this submission, as well as by the overall quality of the presentation and evident enthusiasm. Her work is consistently playful but never becomes sloppy, and even her most informal letters are carefully balanced to create a pleasing composition.

Honorable Mention
Maximiliano Sproviero, 23
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Maximiliano Sproviero

Maximiliano Sproviero submitted the second most accomplished individual typeface design, Reina Pro. This is a complex display typeface incorporating both inline variants and hairline flourishes to a nicely heavy romantic letterform. Great skill is shown in the detailing, and an excellent feel for the correct flow of curves and displacement of stroke weight. The submitted specimen is both stylistically consistent and technically informative.