Type City Cleveland
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on display:

Type City Cleveland is currently on display at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, in the lower walkway between the parking lots and the terminal. This installation was made possible by great cooperation from Jacqueline Muhammad at Cleveland Hopkins, and the generous efforts of Image Lab Media, specifically Patrick May. Image Lab Media printed and mounted all the pieces and posters, and even helped with the installation. If you are in need of large format printing, these guys should be on your call list.

You can see a short video of the exhibition here: Type City Cleveland on Cool Cleveland.


Creating images with type. Type as image. Beautiful letterforms, interacting together, combining to a form a wonderful rendering.

What could be better than that?

Type City Cleveland was begun as a class project in 2007 at the Cleveland Institute of Art by Chris Ramsay, adjunct professor in the Communication Design department. The inspiration came from a printed piece distributed by Veer, highlighting some of their great typefaces. He took this concept, and applied it to the city of Cleveland Ohio. With amazing results.

Communication design students (designers) are required to choose a Cleveland venue, choose a typeface that represents the atmosphere, mood, and overall feel of the venue, and then create their rendering using the characters from the chosen typeface. All venues must be in the greater Cleveland area. Designers must purchase their typefaces from Veer, and provide a printed receipt to the instructor. Once a venue and typeface have been used, they cannot be used in again subsequent years. The exceptions to this are; if the final rendering is not good enough for the web site, both the venue and typeface are back on the table for future designers; a designer may choose to render an interior view of a venue if an exterior view has been completed in previous years (or vice versa).

Type City Cleveland renderings are judged by the instructor and several other creative professionals. Graphic designers, architects, typographers, and illustrators typically make up the mix of judges. And each year, they change.

Renderings are judged on a scale from 1 to 10 on:

  • typeface selection: is it appropriate for the venue?
  • showing of character: are there a good mix of character sizes?
  • overall depth and shape: is the venue accurately depicted?

While creating a Type City Cleveland rendering may seem simple on the surface, it's a lot more complicated than it looks. And has become a favorite amongst the designers...and the instructor. This, along with several other projects in information design, branding and identity, printed promotions, interface design, etc., make for a good mix of creative challenges for the Advanced Studio class at CIA.


Designers set their own pricing for their work. If you would like to purchase a Type City Cleveland rendering, contact the designer personally to discuss your options. Designer names are listed at the tops of the individual pages. If there is no email address listed, you can contact Chris Ramsay directly. See "Requests" section below for an email address.


Usually, designers choose the venue themselves for this project. But if you would like a designer to work on a specific venue, contact Chris Ramsay to discuss the details.

chris (at) ramsaycreative (dot) com

(answered by Chris Ramsay, instructor for Advanced Studio)

Is this a hard project?

Can the designers choose any place they want?
No. It has to be a venue or location that is unique to Cleveland. No chain restaurants, no abstract places, no residences unless there is a good tie-in to the city.

Can the designers choose any typeface they want?
Within reason. The goal is to choose a typeface that "fits" their venue. Designers start with choosing 3 venues and presenting about a dozen typefaces that could fit each venue. Class and instructor input help them narrow down their choice to one. Price is only a factor to the designers themselves...they can choose an expensive one, or one that is more budget-minded.

Do designers choose their typeface first, or their venue?
Typically the venue is chosen first. But there have been a few designers that choose a typeface that they have had their eye on, and try and find a venue that fits it. Their plan is to buy a typeface that will last them for more projects, even after they graduate. I encourage this tactic.

How many characters (letters) to they use?
Depends on the rendering. It varies between a few hundred to thousands. Count them...you'll see.

What class is this for, and what year are the students?
Type City Cleveland is a project in the Advanced Studio class at CIA. The class is typically filled with juniors in the Communication Design department (as it's a required course for them), but there have been designers from other majors like the T.I.M.E. and Product Design departments.

Why do you call the students "designers" when they haven't graduated yet?
By the time the students are in their junior year in the Communication Design department at CIA, most of them are doing freelance projects already. And in my mind, they are already designers. The diploma is just a formality. An important formality that goes on a resume, mind you. But in order to get my students to act like professionals, I address them as such. And expect professional methodologies, approaches, behavior, dress, timeliness, etc. from all of my students.

Why is CIA collaborating with Veer?
I have been buying type and images from Veer for several years for my own design firm. They started out as a small boutique shop, and then grew and grew. The have great content (photography, illustration, typefaces), and are the first stop on my journey to find creative assets that will support a given project. Their staff is amazing, and they put out some very creative printed pieces (as well as on-line) to showcase their work. When their Type City printed piece came out, I literally had to sit down and look through it again and again. I had goose bumps. But not the regular goose bumps, the designer ones...with serifs. It hit me within seconds that I had to bring this type of project to my class.

To me, that's powerful stuff. And makes them worthy of a partner.

Is there an easy way to find the typeface used on a specific rendering?
Yes. Go to the large version of the rendering, and you will see the designer and typeface listed at the top. Click on "type info" and it will take you straight to the page for that typeface on the Veer site.

Why do the email addresses on this site look funny, and I can't click on them?
In short, because spammers suck. Presenting the email addresses this way (with the "@" sign and period spelled out, and no actual email link) makes it harder for spam bots to search the site and snag email addresses to add to their databases. Just cut and paste the email address into an email, replace "(at)" with a "@" and "(dot)" with a "."

It takes a little more work on your end, but it saves hundreds of spam emails being sent to the designers.

Type City Cleveland is a collaboration between The Cleveland Institute of Art and Veer.
All images and logos are copyrights of their respective owners.
The Cleveland Institute of ArtVeer