Fayette, a typeface created by NMU Art and Design alumna Mia Cinelli (BA '11) and inspired by her 2012 visit to the U.P. ghost town, recently received a Graphis Silver Award for Typeface Design and was published in Graphis Typography 4. Fayette was a typical 'boom town,’ smelting iron ore from the Marquette Iron Range from 1867-1891. When it was no longer profitable, the town was abandoned. While in a small museum at the historic site, Cinelli saw sheets of paper with diligent notes on the town’s finances and supplies, penned by an unnamed bank teller/accountant.
“The handwriting was immaculate,” she wrote. “I found myself emotionally sideswiped by this discovery, and felt overwhelmingly determined that this handwriting should become a digital typeface. I began by tracing the photographs I had taken of the original 1878 documents, working obsessively to create continuous letterforms while remaining truthful to the original sample. Fayette is a script typeface referencing the care and craft of historic handwriting, while encompassing a longing to connect the past and present. As a designer and educator, I shared my design process for this typeface (and the importance of typography) through a TED Talk titled ‘A New Type of Superpower’ at TEDxUofM.”
Cinelli is an assistant professor of digital media and design at the University of Kentucky School of Art Visual Studies. She earned her bachelor’s degree in graphic communication from NMU and a master’s degree in art and design from the University of Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design.
Graphis, founded by designer Walter Herdeg in 1944, is an international publisher on books on visual communication and design, and produces themed annuals on topics such as advertising, typography, branding and poster design. Its international competition and related publication were juried by award-winning typeface designers Akira Kobayashi (Monotype), Nadine Chahine (Linotype) and Dan Rhatigan (Adobe Typekit).