On each day of 2015, I tweeted a micro-review of the typefaces in the Typodarium, a tear-off calendar (published by Hermann Schmidt, Mainz – a city with some typographic heritage, as you may know). If you would like to (re)read these 365 tweets, have a look here. In this review, I will focus on the editorial concept of the calendar, rather than on the individual typefaces. But isn’t it pointless to review a calendar for a year that just ended? Maybe it isn’t. There have been rumours that the 2016 Typodarium may be the final one (but the editors of the Typodarium have made a post to their Facebook page saying: “see you next year for the issue #9”). Whether or not this specific product is (almost) dead, the general idea of a daily type calendar should not die. A physical calendar for your physical desktop still seems like an enjoyable way of getting to know new and interesting typefaces. In this review, I will try to point out some aspects that may have rendered the 2015 Typodarium – however much I enjoyed tweeting about its typefaces – less worthwhile than it could have been. If you ever consider publishing a daily type calendar, take a good look at each edition of the Typodarium, read this review – and make it better.
The first Typodarium edition was published in 2008 (for 2009). All editions were edited by Lars Harmsen and Raban Ruddigkeit. In recent years, a jury helped selecting the typefaces. The jury for the 2015 edition were Philippe Apeloig, Alexander Branczyk, Martina Flor, Ivo Gabrowitsch and Mario Lombardo. Three of the five jury members have published retail typefaces themselves (Ivo Gabrowitsch has not, as far as I know, and Mario Lombardo has designed exclusive custom typefaces). It is sad to see only one female type designer among four men, but not surprising, given a lack of gender diversity in professional type design. In spite of that, this is a competent jury, so I was surprised to find that two of the calendar’s main weaknesses were caused by what I think is an unduly lenient editorial policy.