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Craig Eliason


Art History

  • Education
  • MA, PhD Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, Art History

    BA magna cum laude, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, Fine Arts

  • Expertise
  • Modern art, design, and aesthetics

Craig Eliason’s current research focuses on the history of typography and type design. He is focused on the history of the production and reception of so-called “modern-face” types, which emerged in the late eighteenth century, and on the encounters of Western type design with other global writing systems. He has also published on the history of the labels used to classify printing types in the modern period. His scholarly interests in type history and his practice as a digital type designer mutually inform each other. His earlier research investigated the theoretical and practical relationships between the Dada and Constructivist movements in the 1920's, particularly in the career of Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg.

National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Institute Fellowship, 2020

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas Limited Editions Club Endowment Fellowship, 2009–10

Houghton Library, Harvard University Katherine F. Pantzer Jr. Fellowship in Descriptive Bibliography, 2009–10

TypeWknd, Online, 2020: “Baselines are Overrated: Reconsidering the Hierarchy of Typographic Constraints”

College Art Association, Chicago, 2020: “Giambattista Bodoni’s Abstract Types: The Role of ‘Exotic’ Writing Systems”

TypeCon2019, Minneapolis, 2019: “Teaching Type Design to Non-Designers: Lessons Learned”

Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI), Antwerp, Belgium 2018: “Didot and Fashion: Idealization in Historical Contexts”

Stanford University, Face/Interface: Type Design and Human-Computer Interaction Beyond the Western World, Palo Alto, CA 2017: “The Picasso Effect: How ‘Exotic’ Scripts Catalyzed Bodoni’s Modern-Face Types”

Drexel University, Fashion and Media Symposium, Philadelphia, 2017: “Idealization and Didot, the Fashion Font”

College Art Association, New York, 2017: “MoMA and the Accession of Digital Type Designs”

Art Historians of the Twin Cities, St. Paul, 2016: “Haute Couture, Neoclassical Aesthetics, and the Roots of Didot Type”

Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI), Amsterdam, 2013: “The History of ‘Humanist’ Types”

College Art Association, New York, 2013: “Typeface Classification and the Chinese Encyclopedia of Borges,” “Putting Design in Boxes: The Problem of Taxonomy” panel chair

American Printing History Association, Chicago, 2012: “Inventing ‘Ambicase’ Letters”

TypeCon2012, Milwaukee, 2012: “Students as Rasterizers”

Ampersand Club, Minneapolis, MN, 2021: “Letters from Abroad: Encounters with Global Writing Systems in the History of Type Design.”

School of Art and Design lecture series, University of Wisconsin—Stout, Menomonie, WI, 2019: “Realizing Feneon: The process of a type design”

Ampersand Club, Minneapolis, MN, 2017: “The Intersections of Type Design and Visual Culture, 1500–1800”

Germanfest, Saint Paul, MN, 2016: “Spirituality in German Art”

Minnesota Bookbuilders, Open Book, Minneapolis, MN, 20155: “The History of Type Design I & II”

Crosstalk, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN, 2012: “Type Design” with Chank Diesel

Selim Center, University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, MN, 2011: Lecture course: “Painting in the United States”

Collectors’ Forum, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MN, 2011: “Classifying Printing Types: Maximilien Vox and the Power of Suggestion”

Feneon, Cuttlefish, Pleinair, in production.

Backflip [formerly Flipper], 2021
  • Earned Honorable Mention, Morisawa Type Design Competition, Tokyo, Japan, 2014.
Strooptest, in development
  • Selected for “Text, Type, Typography” exhibition, California Marymount University, San Pedro, 2016-17
Ambicase Fatface, 2011
  • Selected for “Call for Type: Neue Schriften/New Typefaces” exhibition, Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, Germany, 2013
Ambicase Modern, 2010

"Insights into Modern Art: Dolly Fiterman Collection." OEC Lobby Gallery, University of St. Thomas, January 17-May 26, 2013

“Founding Zero.” Harry Ransom Center for the Humanities, University of Texas, Austin, October-November, 2010

“Face the Nation: How National Identity Shaped Modern Typeface Design.” Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, July 12–September 21, 2008

“Type Design in the Museum: Acquiring the Immaterial.” Typographica. https://typographica.org/on-typography/type-design-in-the-museum-acquiring-the-immaterial/ (posted April 15, 2021).

“‘Transitional’ Typefaces: The History of a Typefounding Classification,” Design Issues 31 no. 4 (Autumn 2015): 30–43.

“A History of the ‘Humanist’ Type Classification,” Printing History new series no. 18 (July 2015): 3–26.

“Roger Excoffon et la Fonderie Olive by Sandra Chamaret, Julien Gineste, and Sébastien Morlighem” [book review] Design and Culture 4 no. 2 (July 2012): 254–56.

“Uppercase, Lowercase, Unicase: The Making of Ambicase Modern,” Codex: The Journal of Typography no. 1 (Spring 2011): 94–105.

“Adrian Frutiger Typefaces: The Complete Works by Heidrun Osterer and Philipp Stamm; José Mendoza y Almeida by Martin Majoor and Sébastien Morlighem” [book review] Design and Culture 3 no. 1 (March 2011): 130–33.

“‘All the Serious Men are Sick’: Van Doesburg, Mondrian, and Dada,” Simiolus 34 no. 1 (2009–2010): 50–55.

“Theo van Doesburg: Italian Futurist?” In The Low Countries: Crossroads of Cultures, ed. Ton Broos, Margriet Bruyn Lacy, and Thomas F. Shannon (Münster: Nodus, 2006), 47–56.

“Manifestoes by Mail: Postcards from the Theo van Doesburg Correspondence,” Visual Resources, 17 no. 4 (Dec. 2001): 449–458.

“De conferenties van 1922: Tristan Tzara als Van Doesburgs saboteur” [The Conferences of 1922: Tristan Tzara as Van Doesburg’s Saboteur], Jong Holland 16 no. 2 (Spring 2000), 31–37, 66–67.