Posted by Paul D. Hunt
Yesterday marked the first month anniversary of my joining the type team here at Adobe, so I thought that I would briefly introduce myself to those who don’t know me.
I grew up in the rural north-west corner of Arizona in a town of about twelve hundred persons, on the border of the Navajo Nation. At a young age I became fascinated with the languages and cultures of peoples at home and abroad, and poured over encyclopedia articles illustrating the writing systems of ancient civilizations. I studied Spanish and Russian languages on and off from middle school through college, although I would say that I am now only conversationally fluent in either. I entered Brigham Young University intending on getting my degree in Russian language. Part of the reason I attended BYU was that I wanted to perform with its International Folk Dancing Ensemble, which I did (just not on the tour team). It was while in college that I developed a taste for everything Indian: the food, the music, the festivals, and especially Bollywood cinema.
By the time I was finishing at the university I had changed my major to International Studies and had resolved to somehow transition into a career in design. It was at this point that I took a job with a newspaper in Winslow, Arizona and started typeface design as a hobby, teaching myself how to use FontLab and to write OpenType coding. I was assisted in this effort by the indispensable online community Typophile and owe much to the contributors to that forum for my early education in type. I quickly tired of working for the newspaper, and by a stroke of chance, was taken on as an apprentice by P22 type foundry. While there, I had the opportunity to begin to develop my own design skills by digitizing and expanding existing typefaces. Richard Kegler was generous in indulging my forays into designing for scripts beyond Latin, allowing me to add Greek and Cyrillic versions for some projects. I also collaborated with Jim Rimmer on a font that would support the entire Unicode range of Canadian Syllabics. With each new project that I faced at P22, I tried to push myself to increase my design and technical skills.
After two years of working on the type designs of others, I decided that the next step was for me to try to learn how to translate my own concepts and ideals into type. I chose to enroll in the Masters program at the University of Reading, in part because of its focus on designing for world scripts. It was during this year dedicated to experimentation and growth that I decided to tackle the challenge of designing a typeface for Devanagari. With the help of Gerry Leonidas, Fiona Ross, Gerard Unger and several others, I was able to develop the confidence in my own skills of perception and design that I needed to feel comfortable to go back into the world of type. While I was based in the UK, I took advantage of my location and tried to visit as much of Europe as was possible for a student. I visited Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Russia. Italy and Spain are still on my ‘to visit’ list, as is much of Eastern Europe.
After graduation, I worked for a few short months with London’s finest at Dalton Maag before I was offered my current position at Adobe. I believe that I was offered this opportunity not only for my potential for becoming a skilled designer and technician, but also because of my interest and commitment in improving typographic options for people whose scripts are currently underserved by today’s digital typography. I am both humbled and proud to be able to work with the industry leaders in type design and engineering and look forward to being a part of the innovative work that will come from Adobe’s type team in the future.