90 Years of The Society of Typographic Arts

Sharon Oiga
Associate Professor
University of Illinois at Chicago

Guy Villa Jr
Assistant Professor
Columbia College Chicago

In an event that took place in the 1920s, designers affiliated with the Chicago Chapter of AIGA held an unsanctioned, notoriously wild party on Lake Michigan. When the AIGA Board of Directors in New York learned of the incident, they disavowed the Chicago Chapter on the grounds of lack of control over members. The orphaned designers then gathered to form The Society of Typographic Arts (STA). The salacious start of this professional design organization foreshadowed events to come in their 90-year history, including a temporary switch to the name of American Center for Design as well as an infamous dumpster-diving incident to save archival work. These factual incidents, uncovered in the research of the book created for the 90th anniversary of the STA, will be detailed in the presentation. Viewers will expand their knowledge of design history, hear about STA’s periodically controversial timeline of events, see significant works of design, and learn how designers of this era and region characterized design in the American Midwest.