Typography Spotlight: Bonnie Siegler

ADC Member from the first class of Young Guns talks type.

ADC and Monotype’s Typography Month has marched on into February, all thanks to the wonderful response we’ve received from both our ADC Members and the creative community at large. Take a collective bow, ladies and gentlemen!

Just like last year’s Photography Month and Illustration Month, ADC Typography Month features a daily Typography Spotlight, highlighting ADC Members and Young Guns who love working with words and letters. Some of the names are already famous within the design community, while others will be new for you to discover, but all of them are card-carrying ADC Members from around the world.

For today’s Typography Spotlight, we go all the way back to the inaugural class of ADC Young Guns, to an award-winning designer and educator who was recently featured in ADC’s Legacy Series.

Brooklyn, NY, USA


Where did your interest in typography begin? It’s generally not something kids in kindergarten aspire to be. When did you discover that you could actually make a living out of it?

I discovered branding and typography at a very young age. I have no idea why I was so drawn to it. Neither did my parents. I covered my bedroom walls with drawings I did of different bands’ logos.

How much of your ability is self-taught versus through schooling?

I learned from teachers, and then I learned from art directors, and then I learned from clients and now I learn from the designers who work for me.

How would you best describe your style? How did you foster that style? Do you tend to lean towards one type of lettering?

I like to think my style is about communication and problem solving, rather than a specific visual look and feel, but I imagine other people would say my style is simple and straightforward.

“An illustrator has a blank canvas. They can do absolutely anything and go anywhere. We have more restraints, such as the words themselves.”

Walk us through your usual type design process.

I usually start on paper, don’t come up with anything good, take a walk around the block, have a good idea, and then put that on paper.

What is your favorite ‘practical’ font, one for everyday use?

Trade Gothic Bold Condensed. It’s simply perfect.

Do you have a favorite letter of the alphabet when it comes to experimenting with design?

Hmmm. I don’t. Every word/combination of letters has its own personality, so I can’t say that I’ve ever favorited a specific letter. That said, I would probably lean towards the symmetrical ones, like A, H, M, O, T, and X.

Who wins in a fight: serif or sans serif?

Sans serif wins, every single time.

The obvious difference between an illustrator and a letterer or typographer is that the latter works mainly with words and letters. Name a not-so-obvious difference between the artforms, one that certainly applies to you.

An illustrator has a blank canvas. They can do absolutely anything and go anywhere. We have more restraints, such as the words themselves.

What other artistic passions do you have? Where else do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration on Instagram, and in barber shop windows, and in old bookstores, and in museums, and walking around New York City.

Which professionals do you look up to the most in the typography/lettering world?

Herb Lubalin, Paul Rand, Lou Dorfsman. After those guys, the list is very, very long.

What is the most challenging thing about your career?

Working with clients. Always and forever.

At the end of the day, what do you love most about being a typographer or letterer?

I am sort of confused as to why my brain is wired this way, the same now as when I was 10. I am never bored. I always find it challenging and fun. type-month-word-mark-black