Jerry Kelly, a leading calligrapher, book designer, type designer and typographer, is the 2015 recipient of the Frederic W. Goudy Award, given to an outstanding practitioner in type design and its related fields.
Presented by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Cary Graphic Arts Collection and RIT’s School of Media Sciences, the award dating back to 1969 is dedicated to the continued progress of the printing field in the spirit of the great printers of the past.
The 28th presentation of the award and the Goudy Distinguished Lecture in Typography will be made at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in RIT’s Carlson Auditorium. The event and reception is free and open to the public.
“Jerry Kelly’s career exemplifies the values of the Goudy Award,” said Steven Galbraith, curator of RIT’s Cary Collection. “His work expresses his unique voice while also continuing the legacies of masters, such a Hermann Zapf and Bruce Rogers.”
From 1979 to 1987, Kelly spent his summers at RIT learning about calligraphy and type design from Zapf, one of the most influential typographers of the digital age and the first recipient of the Goudy Award in 1969. The two remained close friends until Zapf’s passing in June 2015.
“At the lecture, I will speak about what a turning point it was for me to attend Zapf’s classes at RIT and the importance of Zapf’s work—not just for typographers and calligraphers, but for everyone,” said Kelly. “I will also discuss how such artistry is not adequately appreciated by the ‘art establishment’ and major museums.”
Since the late 1970s, Kelly has designed hundreds of books for clients, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pierpont Morgan Library and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His calligraphy has been used in publications of Abbeville Press, Oak Knoll Press, Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, The Grolier Club and others.
Kelly’s work has also received many awards, including 30 selections in the “Fifty Books of the Year” award for excellence in book design of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, three selections of the Type Director’s Club and selections in the Letter Arts Review Annual.
Before founding Jerry Kelly LLC, Kelly worked with the Press of A. Colish in Mount Vernon, New York (1981–1991) and then with the Stinehour of Press of Lunenberg Vermont (1991–1999).
Since 1978, Kelly has been a partner at the Kelly-Winterton Press, a small shop printing fine editions by letterpress. In addition to being an artist and designer, Kelly is a teacher and scholar, who has written books on the history of calligraphy and printing.
The Goudy Award was established in 1969 by a gift from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. The award pays tribute to the friendship between Melbert B. Cary Jr. and Frederic Goudy, who produced upwards of 123 typefaces and was one of the most widely recognized figures in American printing.
The award presentation is part of the 40th annual American Printing History Association conference hosted Oct. 22–24 at the RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection at The Wallace Center.