February 13, 2014

Adobe Type in Use: Source Sans takes on good food, weather updates, and Cambodian education

We’re pleased to announce a new feature on the Adobe Type blog: Adobe Type in Use. This international typographic feast focuses on creatives doing great work with great faces from the Adobe library. Our team and our friends in the type community have been pounding the pavement, virtually, in search of exceptional projects to share, and we’ve discovered some real gems. We’re particularly excited about kicking off this series with a focus on Source Sans, Adobe’s first open source type family.

Designed by type team member Paul D. Hunt, under the direction of Robert Slimbach, Source Sans has been widely adopted since it was released in August 2012. It’s incredible seeing so many designers using Source Sans for a wide range of clients and causes. We’re quite fond of these worthy projects for Relay Foods, Weathertron, and L’Ecole du Bayon, and we think you’ll like them, too.

Source Sans in use for Relay Foods

Source Sans in use for Relay Foods (clockwise, from top left): Large Banner, Phone Press, Logo, Grocery Insert (front), Grocery Insert (back), Metro Ad, Push Card, Website, Trucks. Credits: Matthew Smith, creative director; John Robinson, photographer; Chandler Van De Water, Designer.

Relay Foods: Making eating well easy.
Relay Foods, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, is an online grocer with a focus on sustainable foods and local producers. Currently operating in a handful of upper East Coast markets, including Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Richmond, Virginia, Relay offers a clean, easy-to-use shopping interface. Customers can choose from products procured from local stores, restaurants, and farms, and have the option of home delivery or picking up their orders at readily accessible distribution spots in their cities.

The company’s stated aim is “to make eating quality, healthy, and sustainable food simple.” In developing a mission-friendly tone for the website and everything from delivery trucks to tees, Greenville, South Carolina’s Matthew Smith, Chief Creative Officer for Relay, combined Source Sans with RooneyParsley Script, and DIN Condensed.

“We knew we wanted a sans face that was tighter and less formal and gothic than the catch-all Helvetica. Open Sans is a great typeface, but a little more ‘open’ than we were looking for,” Matthew said. “When I first saw Source Sans blown up black and strong above a Rooney Regular subtitle, I knew we had the right balance. It’s a great readable face.”

Matthew said Source Sans is particularly well suited to Relay’s marketing because it has “warmth in the letterforms without being sissy; strength without being macho. [It’s a] great balance for a typeface that needs to convey simplicity as a service—our core motto.”

“People often ask what faces we’re using and why we’ve paired the fonts the way we have,” Matthew said. “My own feedback is that it’s growing, and it’ll be refined more and more as we move along in the product.”

Follow Relay Foods on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Relay’s creative chief Matthew Smith on Dribble and Twitter. Continue reading…

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February 5, 2014

Passing on the FDK Workshops Torch

Miguel at Reading

Miguel during a workshop at Reading. Photo by Ben Mitchell

Since 2008, and almost uninterruptedly, I have been visiting two well-known type design schools every spring, to deliver a 3-to-4-day workshop on font production and the Adobe Font Development Kit for OpenType (AFDKO)*. Today, I would like to announce that my colleague Frank Grießhammer is taking over that responsibility starting this year.

Frank is a graduate of KABK’s Type and Media program, he has recently celebrated his third anniversary at Adobe, and was one of the attendees of the workshop back in 2010. He always likes to point out that his interest in regular expressions (a.k.a. GREP or regexp) was sparked by a tiny example I mentioned at the workshop. I would never have imagined that.

He is a very talented type designer and programmer, and I know he is well qualified to answer any technical and design questions that the students will have. I have full confidence that Frank will do well and that the FDK workshops will continue to prosper with him at the helm.
Continue reading…

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January 28, 2014

Bickham Script: The Allure of the Vintage Form

Book cover for Democracy in America

Cover designed by Alvin Lustig. From the collection of Dr. Shelley Gruendler.

The following is a guest post by educator and typographer Dr. Shelley Gruendler.

George Bickham (1684–1758) published one of the best-known English writing manuals, The Universal Penman, in 1741. His aim was to ease the learning process of formal calligraphic writing with a pointed pen, used primarily for business correspondence. The letterforms were flowing and open and accentuated the thicks and thins, with emphasis on entry and exit strokes, particularly for the capital letters. The business writer and the casual correspondent soon adopted the style that is now known as English Roundhand.

For years both before and after George Bickham’s life, one’s handwriting symbolized intellect and stature in society. Both the rich and poor at the time aimed for appealing and elegant handwriting and, with the proliferation of handwriting manuals of which Bickham’s was one of the most popular, many were able to achieve it.

Considering that these letterforms are nearly 350 years old, it doesn’t mean that they are dusty and dated. Scripts still have purpose and are far from obsolete. In fact, they are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, perhaps as a reaction to the abundance of computer typeset forms. We’re in the middle of an Arts and Crafts revival, and applications of older typefaces and letterforms are now at the forefront.  Continue reading…

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January 21, 2014

An Unconventional Engineer: How fine art and computer smarts brought Ernie March to Adobe

Ernie March in Beaune.

Life is all about making good choices. Ernie March ponders the vast selection of Dijon mustards on display at an open-air market in Beaune, France, capital of the Burgundy wine region. After thoughtful consideration, he chose four delectable varieties to bring home. Selecting the tastiest condiments is nothing compared to the critical decisions Ernie makes daily in his role at Adobe. Photo by Ed Koizumi.

Ernest March, affectionately known as Ernie to friends and colleagues alike, does Quality Engineering and so much more for the Adobe Type team. Since he embarked on his typographic career in the 1980s, this self-titled “accidental type guy” has seen major upheavals in our field (and lived to tell the tale). Writer and typographer Tamye Riggs recently had a deliciously geeky chat with Ernie, and we asked her to share some highlights from his colorful past and present.

Ernie, you seem to wear a few different hats at Adobe. What’s your official title?
Senior Quality Engineer. I say that with a snicker in my voice because my dad was a mechanical engineer, and when I was going to college, he said, “Don’t be an engineer. It sucks.” So I went off to art school instead—180 degrees in the other direction. But even though I went to art school studying design and illustration, my job title still has engineer in it. They have to pinhole you into something—we tend not to take it too seriously.

Where did you go to college, and what did you study?
I went to Santa Clara University for my history degree. I was taking art classes as electives. I was enjoying it, and, as I got closer to graduation, I thought, what can I do with a history degree? I didn’t see myself teaching, so I thought, I’ll keep going to school. The head of the art department helped with my portfolio and I submitted it to Art Center in Pasadena. My portfolio was pretty piss-poor, but they let me in the door. You can actually train someone to be a decent artist! Continue reading…

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January 14, 2014

The Source Project and Open Source Collaboration: A work in progress

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Source*

Adobe Type team members Miguel Sousa and Paul Hunt discuss their adventures in open source font development.
Photo by David Sudweeks, TypeCon2013, Portland, Oregon.

In August 2012, Adobe released its first open source typeface family, Source Sans Pro. We followed up a month later with its monospaced companion, Source Code Pro. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and elicited a terrific amount of feedback from the open source community and the type and design world. Paul D. Hunt, principal designer/developer for the Source Sans and Code types, and Miguel Sousa, a significant contributor to the project, spoke at TypeCon2013 in Portland last August about their experiences with the project. Below is some of what Paul and Miguel presented to this annual gathering of type makers and type users.

The Source project has been an interesting one for the Adobe Type team. Not only was Source Sans our first open source typeface, it has also led to us changing our development process and tools. But one of the most important aspects of the Source project was that it gave us a unique opportunity to engage with the type and open source communities.

One of the most crucial pieces of feedback we received from the open source community after releasing Source Sans on SourceForge was that the project should also live on GitHub. (GitHub is extremely collaboration-friendly and boasts the world’s largest open source community.)

The gentle prodding went a little something like this:

weusegit2 Continue reading…

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December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays

Along with my colleagues on the Adobe Type & Adobe Typekit teams, I’d like to wish all our readers a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year.

This year we went back to our old tradition of producing a letterpress holiday card. The card, designed by Elliot Jay Stocks, Creative Director for Typekit, and printed by Norman Clayton of Classic Letterpress, is the first printed piece for the recently combined Adobe Type and Adobe Typekit teams. It is set in Garamond Premier Pro, designed by Robert Slimbach.

I’ve included a photo of the card below to spread our holiday greeting beyond those to whom we sent a printed copy.


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December 9, 2013

Languages, logos, and letters: Frank Grießhammer and his road to type design

“Be Frank™” — photo by Tânia Raposo, motivational composition by Stephen Coles

“Be Frank™.” Photo by Tânia Raposo. Motivational composition by Stephen Coles.

“Many things just happened by coincidence in my life. In fact, practically everything.”
—Frank Grießhammer

Born in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1983, Frank Grießhammer is many things: a pianist and lover of jazz music with an affinity for languages; a photographer with a toolkit of obsolete film cameras; and a thoughtful curator of a singularly splendid adapter collection. His career might have gone in any of a dozen different directions, but an early obsession with logos and a series of happy coincidences led Frank to his home with the Adobe Type Team.

What was life like growing up in Germany?
My childhood was great. I grew up in Hof, a mid-sized town in the north of Bavaria. My parents brought their two boys up in a creative household, where a lot of tinkering and building stuff was going on. I was given the possibility of musical education, and the family just traveled a lot. This may seem like nothing, but it really shaped my path for the future, and my view on the world. Of course, this is something you don’t quite realize as a kid—only much later did I come to understand how important it was.

Continue reading…

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December 4, 2013

A Typographical Curiosity: Frank Grießhammer joins the circus with the release of HWT Tuscan Extended

Tuscan Extended Ampersand

As part of Adobe’s ongoing mission to help support the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, several members of our team have been digitizing antique typefaces for the Hamilton Wood Type Foundry (a partnership between the Hamilton and P22 type foundry). My co-worker Frank Grießhammer threw his hat into the ring, so to speak, unleashing one of those strangely wonderful “circus types” onto the world. In celebration of its release today, I’m happy to share with you a little insight into the making of HWT Tuscan Extended. Although Frank has not yet been able to visit the Hamilton—a “wood type wonderland,” as he imagines it—he feels strongly about the importance of the museum, and its mission to preserve and promote such a rich part of typographic culture.

“Wood type is this genre of type that very much has its own rules, and I think that is great,” Frank said. “I imagine it like this big guy, just doing his own thing, not caring about what anybody else will say (please understand that this is supposed to be a compliment!).”

“Leafing through Rob Roy Kelly’s American Wood Type, I have yet to find one page which is not awesome,” Frank continued. “Often, I will laugh when seeing the specimen of a wood type alphabet—something that does not happen very often with digital fonts.”

In choosing which type to digitize for HWT, Frank decided to work on a less-than-typical design, focusing on the fun and challenging aspects of reviving a little-known antique face. “I wanted to digitize the craziest typeface Rich [Kegler of P22/HWT] had to offer; first, because I wanted to have a bit of fun while working, and also for the sake of drawing something I had not drawn before.”

A wild hybrid fluctuating between a Gothic Tuscan and an Antique Tuscan, HWT Tuscan Extended is an extremely wide face, abundantly decorated with spikes and crossbars. Although this Tuscan is not overly ornate, each letterform is a study in complexity—unique combinations of spikes and bars dress each character’s outrageous curves with cheeky exuberance. Continue reading…

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November 20, 2013

From Slavophile to Typophile: The cultural journeys of Paul D. Hunt

Paul and big P
Paul D. Hunt joined Adobe as a typeface designer in 2009, but his path to San Jose has been anything but typical. Valedictorian of his high school graduating class of 25 (just down the road from a famous Route 66 landmark), Paul was well on his way to a high-powered career in international business. But he fell in love with language, then type, somewhere along the way. And the rest, as they say, is history.

How did you make your debut on Planet Earth? 

I was born in Winslow, Arizona (from the popular Eagles’ song). I wasn’t born on the corner, though—I was born in the hospital! I grew up in a rural town called Joseph City and went to public school there. With just 1,200 people in the town, there weren’t many opportunities to do much of anything interesting, but when there were, I tried to maximize them. For example, when our school briefly offered some satellite courses through UW in foreign languages, I took that opportunity to start to learn Russian.

Aside from the incredibly easy task of learning Russian, what else did you do for fun growing up? 

I was involved in dancing, in the form of clogging. My younger sister and I did it for many years throughout my youth. I worked at the school auditorium doing light and sound and stagehand stuff. I was in choir, and I did a little bit of acting in community productions. Our show choir did Oliver! and I played the villain, Bill Sykes, when I was a senior (probably because I was the only one who could grow a beard and pull the whole thing off).

In 1995 as Dickensian villain Bill Sykes in his high school’s presentation of Oliver!

So how did you transition from aspiring clog dancer and super-villain to type designer?

I was always interested in language and culture—and later, design—and how these things all come together. I wanted to continue with dance and studying Russian—part of the reason that I chose to attend Brigham Young University was because they have very good language programs and an international folk dance ensemble. In the summer of 2000, I was part of a team that toured around elementary schools in Utah doing all kinds of dance—Ukrainian, Hungarian, Polish, French Canadian, Israeli, Bulgarian—a lot of Eastern European stuff, which is what I like most. Bulgarian rhythms, costumes, and music always make me excited. That’s my favorite, just because it’s so energetic and completely different from [what people usually] think of European folk dancing. Continue reading…

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November 6, 2013

The mysteries of Type Quality Engineering explained (or how a font gets out the door)


This article was written by my co-worker, Ernie March. Ernie has been our font QE guy for almost 20 years. After some subtle hints (no pun intended), I was finally able to talk him into writing something about all the work that goes into making sure we deliver high-quality fonts to our customers. This is Ernie’s first post on our blog, and I certainly hope it won’t be his last.

No, we don’t just throw it over the fence!
When it comes to font development, our design and production team spends a good deal of time making choices: deciding what the font should look like, what sort of language coverage it should have, what OpenType features it will contain, etc. Then they get down to the serious business of actually creating the font.

The team does a lot of testing during this process, and asks for input from experts in languages/scripts where we don’t already have expertise in-house. Rather than just throw them over the fence once they think they’re done, my co-workers send the fonts over to Quality Engineering (also known as my desk). I test the look, accuracy, and functionality of everything imaginable. This testing involves checking the validity of all the tables in the font file using Adobe Font Development Kit for OpenType tools, including a separate check of the outlines, plus the language coverage and Unicode values. Once the files pass these critical tests, a set of visual proofs are created and carefully examined. Among other things, this proofing includes creating waterfalls in order to check stem hints and alignment zones at a variety of sizes—both onscreen and in print—and glyph dumps to check shapes and accent/mark placement. Continue reading…

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