For the past five years Foster has worked both as a freelance graphic designer for various esteemed design studios including Mark Gowing Design, Saatchi Design, There Design and Feeder Group, as well as time as a part-time teacher at a private design college in Sydney. However, it was his solid body of typography work combined with his enthusiasm for his craft and his compelling desire to become a specialist in his field by training at an international institute that won over the judges.
‘There are few people around like David and his work should be celebrated now and into the future,’ said Stephanie Pemberton, Judge Chair of the 2011 Scholarship.
Foster intends to use the $18,000 scholarship to assist with the costs associated with studying at the highly respected Royal Academy of Art located in Den Haag, The Netherlands in 2012. The Academy is one of the few institutions in the world that offers a highly specialised typography program.
‘By learning how to make fonts properly and sharing the knowledge with young designers I hope to solidify my own understanding and also encourage a potentially burgeoning local type scene,’ said Foster.
‘A love of letters consumes my life. I want to become one of a handful of people in this country, to create high-quality, versatile and legible fonts that can tell our stories as Australians, in any media,’ Foster said. ‘Having had the opportunity to teach has made me realise this is my calling, not just a job.’
Foster applied for the one year, full-time post-graduate Masters at the Academy, and in May 2011 he was one of only 10 students offered a place from a pool of more than 200, taking only those with the most motivation and potential.
However, even on a modest budget the total cost of living, fees, travel and equipment were to prove prohibitive to Foster accepting the offer. The Design NSW Travelling Scholarship will allow Foster to take up this rare opportunity whilst also ensuring he returns to Australia to share his knowledge and experience as well as help to cultivate and nurture the local typography community.
‘This scholarship offers me the chance to make my dream come true,’ said Foster. ‘This dream is to gain knowledge which I can share with other Australians by publishing a blog, articles and lecturing on my return in August 2012.’
Pemberton said Foster presented ‘brilliant, professional, focused, resolved work’ and commended him on his commitment to education.
‘The judges were impressed with David’s appreciation for the craft of typography and his total dedication to this career path,’ she said. ‘David is destined to be one of Australia’s foremost typographers and will become a household name within the design community.’
Foster’s work has featured in various publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, Design Quarterly and Desktop Magazine and has also been exhibited at a range of galleries and festivals including Imagine at Lo-fi, Eyesaw at Omnibus Lane and Go Font Yourself at Peer Gallery.
The Design NSW Travelling Scholarship, now in its fifth year, is presented by the Powerhouse Museum and Arts NSW in partnership with the British Council. The scholarship is an initiative of Arts NSW and is funded through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, a partnership between the Australian and New South Wales Governments aimed at building and supporting a strong, sustainable and dynamic contemporary visual art, craft and design sector.
Watch a video of David, moments after winning the award.
View the slideshow below for details on the nine Finalists.