Posts in Category "Typography"

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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October 30, 2013

The almost-forgotten (but always-awesome) Typography Primer


My motivation for writing this post can be credited to my co-worker Steve Ross. For the past year, Steve has kept saying things like, “Nicole, you know that Typography Primer that was included in Font Folio Education Essentials? It’s a really good primer.”

I always agreed with Steve when he mentioned the primer, thinking we really must do something with such a nifty resource. Then I would get busy with something else entirely and completely forget about that little Typography Primer that was hanging around, collecting dust.

Last month, Steve gave the primer to a program manager who has an office on our floor —a colleague who knows next to nothing about type (sacrilege, I know!). This (formerly) typographically unenlightened program manager read the primer, then sent us an enthusiastic email, saying that everyone at Adobe should read it so they could learn more about typography. Now, that’s something I would love to see happen! But these things take time, so I figured I’d start by sharing the primer with all the awesome folks who follow our blog.

This primer was written back in 2000, but its content is still relevant today. It talks about things like using the right character, choosing and using typefaces, combining typefaces in a publication, and loads of other interesting typographic tidbits. If you follow our blog, you probably already know a lot about type. If that’s the case, why not take a look inside anyway? Think of it as a fun refresher when you need a break from work. Perhaps it’s even something you might share with a co-worker who longs to know more about the mysterious world of x-heights and optical sizes.

And if you’re like Steve, and say to yourself, “Hey, this primer is really great,” we’d love to hear about it! If enough people give positive feedback about our dear little Typography Primer, I might be able to get some printed copies into conference goodie bags next year.

Download our Typography Primer & happy reading!

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April 1, 2013

New type specimens are now available

The Adobe Type team is often asked for more details on how we go about designing typefaces; what sort of historical elements went into the design, was there a specific approach that we took, and what problems we were trying to solve. Very often, a combination of factors like historical precedent, language coverage, stylistic trends and media target (print, web, UI, app, etc.) can be interesting to our customers.

With the typophile in mind, and others who are interested in font design, we produced our latest set of type specimens. These specimens, now available as PDFs on, delve into the design of four recent Adobe Original typefaces – Trajan Sans, Trajan Pro 3, Myriad Arabic and Myriad Hebrew. We hope you enjoy reading this material and learning more about these typefaces.



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December 3, 2012

Adobe Type thanks community members for participating in translation efforts

A little over three months ago, we launched the Adobe Type Community Translation program and began engaging with community members to translate the typeface notes for the Adobe Type Library. Using the Adobe Translation Center (ATC), customers, users and fans of Adobe Type have contributed over 260 translations to this project. We’d like to take a moment to publicly thank all of these individuals for their contributions. Continue reading…

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October 12, 2012

Type Legends Video Series

Earlier this year, Adobe sponsored a series of short videos by the Type Directors Club (TDC). Each video in the series, appropriately named Type Legends, features an interview with a legendary type designer. Thus far, four videos have been released. As a sponsor of the videos, supporter of TDC, and a team of folks passionate about type we were thrilled to see these videos come to life and wanted to share the video links with all our Typblography followers.


Continue reading…

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September 24, 2012

Announcing Source Code Pro

Source Code Pro title image

Following up on Source Sans

The public reception of the release of Source Sans Pro last month was very encouraging. My colleague, Ken Lunde, pointed out that this was not Adobe’s first open source font as Kenten Generic has been available for some time now. But I stand by my claim that it is Adobe’s first open source type family. Sorry, Ken. The blog post announcing the family’s release has been our most popular in the history of Typblography and the news was picked up by major tech media outlets such as Wired, Ars Technica, The Verge, &c. As of today, the fonts have been downloaded over 68,250 times from SourceForge.

One particularly surprising aspect of Source Sans’s release was the amount of interest generated by the teaser graphic of the monospaced version. It seemed that this generated about as much buzz as the fonts that we released. Brackets, the open source code editor created by Adobe, has just recently implemented the regular weight of Source Code into their project. Likewise, the font will be integrated into Adobe Edge Code, which was announced this morning at our Create the Web event in San Francisco. The complete family of six weights will also be available as part of our new Adobe Edge Web Fonts service, which was just announced this morning.

Continue reading…

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August 22, 2012

Adobe Type Community Translation

Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of a new pilot program – Adobe Type Community Translation. This program is aimed at getting translations for Adobe’s typeface notes and will offer handsome rewards for contributors. We will be leveraging Adobe’s own community translation tool, the Adobe Translator application, to get translations for our 400+ typeface notes (also referred to as typeface histories). These typeface notes provide users additional information about the typeface and often include information about the history of the typeface. On average, these typeface notes are about 100 words in length. Continue reading…

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March 2, 2012

Robert Slimbach’s 25 Years of Type at Adobe

Today marks Robert Slimbach’s 25th anniversary with Adobe. Robert joined Adobe’s Type staff on March 2nd, 1987, as Adobe’s nascent program for original typeface design took shape under the guidance of Sumner Stone. Since then, Robert has accumulated awards and accolades for his work, including the Prix Charles Peignot in 1991, and numerous Type Directors Club awards. In 2006, Robert became Adobe’s first Principal Designer — a title he probably earned in spirit long before that.

Continue reading…

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February 24, 2012

“Linotype: The Film” Makes Its Left Coast Debut

On Tuesday, Adobe’s Typekit office hosted the west coast premiere of Linotype: The Film with two back-to-back screenings. A few of us on the Adobe Type team were there and share our thoughts about it:

Linotype historian Frank Romano showing original font drawings for the Linotype.

Linotype historian Frank Romano showing original font drawings for the Linotype.

David Lemon: I really liked Frank Romano’s historical perspective. I’d come across a lot of that material before, but had never learned what inspired Ottmar Mergenthaler to create the first Linotype machine. And as a Type person, I appreciated Nadine Chahine’s point that the machine’s great commercial success supported the development of the world’s preeminent font library – which has long since outlived the machine.

Frank Grießhammer: What I liked is that really all the aspects of the machine were illuminated, from the history of its creation, to the pinnacle of its success, to its replacement by other technologies. Even the Linotype’s value in terms of scrap metal was mentioned, and the difficulties (in sheer personal investment and energy) that are to be taken to keep a Linotype running today. All those facts were embellished with a wealth of ancedotes, e.g. the fascinating story of “etaoin shrdlu.” A great movie, which I can easily see being interesting to festival-goers that are not necessarily 100% type nerds.

Christopher Slye: Honestly, I was grinning for half the film. It’s ambitious enough to make the case that the Linotype was just about the most important invention for human knowledge following movable type itself… but it also finds that the people who have spent their careers operating or otherwise depending on them are smart, proud and funny. It helps that it’s all nicely filmed and briskly paced. A few familiar faces put it all in context for the type enthusiasts and professionals, but it turns out the Linotype — quirky, complex and slightly dangerous — has more universal appeal than expected.

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