Arts & Culture

Award-winning Typeface Fayette Connected to Kentucky, Michigan

photo of detail image of capital letters in Fayette typeface by Mia Cinelli
photo of typeface Fayette by Mia Cinelli


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2018) University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Design Mia Cinelli’s typeface Fayette was awarded a Graphis Silver Award for Typeface Design and was published in “Graphis Typography 4.”  

Graphis, founded by renowned designer Walter Herdeg in 1944, is an international publisher on books on visual communication and design, and produces themed annuals on topics such as advertising, typography, branding and poster design. To be featured in a Graphis annual is an honor in the discipline of design. This international competition and publication was juried by high-profile, award-winning typeface designers: Akira Kobayashi (Monotype), Nadine Chahine (Linotype) and Dan Rhatigan (Adobe Typekit).

Fayette is an original script digital typeface loosely based on the handwriting of an anonymous former resident of Fayette, a ghost town located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As a mining boomtown, workers in Fayette smelted iron ore from 1867-1891, when it proved unprofitable the town was abandoned. With an emphasis on swiftness, elegance and respect for historic penmanship, Fayette is a typeface which hopes to give a voice to a place and time which no longer exists, transporting a small slice of the past into the present.

Fayette originally received international attention after Cinelli’s TED Talk “The Power of Typography” at TEDxUofM at University of Michigan in 2016.

Cinelli is an artist and designer who joined the faculty at UK School of Art Visual Studies in fall of 2017. Previously she served as an assistant professor and gallery director at Defiance College for three years. Cinelli earned her bachelor’s degree in graphic communication from Northern Michigan University and a master’s degree in art + design from the Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design.

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies at the College of Fine Arts is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studioart history and visual studiesart education, and digital media and design.