Working with Words

Type Directors Club Gallery looks back on a quarter century of Alexander Isley’s design work

Even if you don’t know it, chances are you are familiar with the work of Alexander Isley. Alex’s design firm, Alexander Isley Inc., has worked on projects that are all across the board, both in terms of whom they work for, and the type of work they do. Anyone who has toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been guided by their signage. The team has also done logos for Central Park Summerstage, and the American Museum of the Moving Image, as well as packaging design for clients including Starbucks and Armani Exchange, among others.

Isley’s work is eye-catching and effective, which is why the firm has gained a reputation for creating memorable identities for the brands and organizations they work for. The packaging for Armani Exchange was covered in TIME magazine’s “Best of the Year” feature, and selected as part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. They have also worked doing book design, advertising, retail space, posters, videos and much more.

Staten Island Ferry Terminal

Now the firm is turning 25 years old, and to honor their first quarter century of achievement, New York City’s Type Directors Club Gallery will be exhibiting many highlights of their body of work. The title of the show, “Working with Words” is a nod to the creative uses of typography that Alex and his design team frequently explore.


The Type Directors Club will also be dusting off some of Isely’s work from before he began his own firm; first as a designer for M&Co, and later as the Art Director of the irreverent and influential SPY magazine.


“Working with Words” is will open on February 21 and run until March 30. The gallery is open daily from 8-4pm, though visitors must call in advance to arrange a visit, as the space is often used for workshops and classes.

All photos courtesy Alexander Isley

Brian Bruegge is an undergraduate student at Fordham University, majoring in communications and media studies, and history. He also studies visual arts and environmental policy, and has previously written for several other websites and publications on a range of topics.

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