Society of Typographic Aficionados

The Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, study, and support of type, its history and development, its use in the world of print and digital imagery, its designers, and its admirers.

SOTA exists for the affordable education of its members and participants; to further the development of type, typographical information and typography; and to appreciate on multiple levels the attributes of type, typography, type design, graphic design, the book arts, and calligraphy. Furthermore, SOTA is committed to sponsoring relevant topics in pursuit of these goals. SOTA pursues these goals through an annual conference, TypeCon, held in a different host city each year.

Mission[edit]

The Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, study, and support of type, its history and development, its use in the world of print and digital imagery, its designers, and its admirers.

Charter[edit]

The Society of Typographic Aficionados exists for the affordable education of its members and participants; to further the development of type, typographical information and typography; and to appreciate on multiple levels the attributes of type, typography, design, the book arts, and calligraphy.

Furthermore, SOTA is committed to sponsoring relevant topics in pursuit of these goals through an annual conference TypeCon, held in a different host city each year.

Members have the opportunity to help shape the direction of the organization. Volunteerism is essential to the continued growth and usefulness of organization. Members are encouraged to propose venues, programming, and support for future conferences and other events. SOTA welcomes ideas for public awareness campaigns, fundraising activities, and broadening cultural diversity.

History[edit]

SOTA was formed in 1995 as the Society of Typographic Awareness by Bob Colby, later renamed to the Society of Typographic Aficionados in 1997. The society’s original mission was to increase public awareness and appreciation of the art and history of typography and its function in creating beautiful and successful communications. In keeping with these goals, SOTA is defined as a cultural (rather than a business) organization.

In July 2000, Tony Di Pietro assumed directorship of SOTA from Bob Colby.

After attempts at organizing an event in the greater Boston area as early as 1995, SOTA hosted its first official TypeCon in Westborough, MA in 1998.

In the interest of expanding the organization and conference, several members decided it would benefit SOTA to move the conference to larger venues. In 2001, SOTA was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) and installed a formal board of directors including such typographic luminaries as Hermann Zapf, Matthew Carter, and Allan Haley. Tamye Riggs was installed as director of programming and went on to hold the position of Executive Director until 2010.

Subsequent conferences have been held in Westborough, MA (2000), Rochester, NY (2001), Toronto, ON (2002), Minneapolis, MN (2003), San Francisco, CA (2004), New York, NY (2005), Boston, MA (2006), Seattle, WA (2007), Buffalo, NY (2008), Atlanta, GA (2009), Los Angeles, CA (2010), New Orleans, LA (2011), Milwaukee, WI (2012), Portland, OR (2013), Washington, DC (2014), Denver, CO (2015), Seattle, WA (2016), Boston, MA (2017), and Portland, OR (2018).

The SOTA Typography Award[edit]

The SOTA Typography Award is presented each year to an outstanding member of the type community.

Past recipients include Hermann Zapf (2003), Ed Benguiat (2004), Matthew Carter (2005), Adrian Frutiger (2006), David Berlow (2007), Gerrit Noordzij (2008), Gerard Unger (2009), Doyald Young (2010), Erik Spiekermann (2011), Mike Parker (2012), Zuzana Licko (2013), Fiona Ross (2014), Robert Slimbach (2015), Fred Smeijers (2016), Paula Scher (2017), Louise Fili (2018), and Carol Wahler (2018).

The SOTA Catalyst Award[edit]

The Society of Typographic Aficionados created the Catalyst Award in 2010 to recognize young people who have created original work in type design, type history, or other areas related to typography. Each year, the award recognizes a person 25 years of age or younger who demonstrates significant achievement and future promise in the field of typography.[1]

The recipient is awarded funds to reimburse transportation and lodging expenses while attending TypeCon. The recipient also has their conference registration fees paid for and is given the opportunity to present a their current work during the main conference program.

The SOTA Board of Directors hopes that this introduction to a large audience of typographic aficionados will be a catalyst in the career of the recipient.

References[edit]

External links[edit]