Design Professor Paul Sych earns accolades with bold type designs

Design Professor Paul Sych is reaping numerous national and international awards for his distinctive, hand-drawn typefaces and approach to creative communication design. In this year alone, he has amassed a total of 15 international design prizes for his work.

Among these successes is his redesign of the Toronto fashion, art and culture quarterly Lush, which has been taking the industry by storm. Sych was the founding art director when the magazine launched five years ago and after a long hiatus was recently invited to return to the position to give Lush a dramatic overhaul.

Right: Paul Sych

The result, exemplified by the winter 2009 issue of Lush, earned the Graphis Design Annual 2011 Platinum Award. This prestigious award is the highest honour given by the journal Graphis, regarded as the premier publication for graphic communications worldwide. The international competition, recognizing industry professionals in design, advertising and photography, drew 1500 entries from 32 countries.

Sych’s Lush designs were profiled as the “Pick of the Month” in the international publication IdN World based in Hong Kong. They also won him a Certificate of Typographic Excellence at the 56th annual global competition of the New York City-based Type Directors Club (TDC). Founded in 1946, the TDC is a leading international organization whose purpose is to support excellence in typography, both in print and on screen. Sych’s award-winning work was included in the 2010 TDC exhibition in Los Angeles and Toronto and will be showcased in Typography 31, the TDC’s annual publication of competition winners, coming out in early December.

Most recently, Sych’s work for Lush picked up seven prizes at the Advertising & Design Club of Canada (ADCC) Awards, held in Toronto on Nov. 4. His beautiful font treatments won all four Awards of Merit given for editorial typography. Two more merit awards recognized his art direction for a single magazine page or spread, and another was given for one of his Lush magazine covers.

Left: Sych’s Lush design

Sych was also honoured with two Silver awards for the double-sided poster he created to promote the call for entries for the ADCC competition. Based on the theme “do you love or hate awards shows?” from the commissioning Leo Burnett Agency, Sych designed original lettering with “Love” as the mirror image of “Hate” and vice versa. In his innovative treatment, Sych embossed the type so that “Love” is raised on one side and “Hate” is pressed into the other. The award-winning poster was produced in a special limited edition.

3D fonts have been a focus of Sych’s creative research for some time. He is currently working to transform his “Love/Hate” design into a font sculpture. Visual Arts professor and sculptor Brandon Vickerd is on board to facilitate the creation, which will stand more than four feet tall.

Thanks to his distinctive, often flamboyant custom typography and imagery, Sych and his multidisciplinary design studio, Faith, have gained international recognition and a global clientele. Recent mainstream projects in branding, motion graphics and broadcast design include new logos for Hamilton’s CHCH TV, Shaw Media’s Mystery TV, and The Fight Network; Kraft Dinner’s “Gotta be KD” lettering; and an icon for the Canadian Snowboard Federation that was featured on the gear of the Canadian snowboarding team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, BC.

Right: 3D “Love” design

Over the past year Sych has seen his work published a dozen times worldwide in books and magazines dedicated to art direction, design and typography, including Playful Type 2 and Los Logos: Compass (Gestalten, Germany), New Ornamental Type (Thames & Hudson, US) and Sparks on Pages (Sandu Publishing, China).

Sych joined the full-time faculty in York’s Department of Design in 2008. He shares his expertise in typeface design, editorial design, typography and motion graphics with students in the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design.