The Shifting Face of Type Design at Adobe

Last month we highlighted the Adobe Originals blog series that the Typekit team is featuring on their blog. The series, authored by Tamye Riggs, launched this past May to celebrate the  twenty-fifth anniversary of the Adobe Originals type design program. This week we wrapped up the final article, and wanted to share some highlights from the second half of the series.

No 6: Typographic Tales from Japan
Almost 26 years ago, we started a relationship with Morisawa (which, at the time, was kind of the number two company in Japan). But we chose well. They were on their way up, and the number one company back then is barely remembered now.

— David Lemon, Senior Manager of Type Development at Adobe

Read more about Adobe’s entry into the Japanese type market, and how the Originals program continues to thrive in Asia.

No. 7: How the Originals endured in an ever-changing industry
It was certainly one of the striking and exciting things about being there and working with everyone — everyone was passionate about the craft, about making good stuff that would be reliable, and, at the same time, represent an advance in type design. Percentage wise, there’s just a huge amount of finely crafted workhorse typefaces and classic display faces that have already stood the test of time, and I’m sure will for decades, probably centuries to come. Whether it’s Adobe Garamond or Trajan, these typefaces are going to be around indefinitely.

— Thomas Phinney, former Product Manager for Adobe Type

Learn more from Thomas Phinney and others about multiple master fonts and OpenType, and how the Adobe Type team continued to innovate in type design and font technology.

No 8: The Adobe Originals Silver Anniversary Story: An inside view of the Originals collection
Adobe Originals more often than not set the proverbial bar higher, meaning that we are at the cutting edge of type innovation, both in terms of design, but also in functionality. Anything that cuts can also cause bleeding, which explains why being at the cutting edge often translates into our fonts sometimes being too innovative, which usually means that applications need to catch up to support some of the feature or functionality that we include. This keeps our application teams on their toes, which ultimately results in better products for our customers. After all, it is our customers who ultimately make Adobe successful. — Dr. Ken Lunde, Senior Computer Scientist in CJKV Type Development at Adobe

Find out what Ken Lunde and other members of the Adobe Type team say about their favorites from the Originals library, and what makes them standouts among the vast number of digital typefaces available today.

No 9: The Adobe Originals Silver Anniversary Story: A community perspective on the Originals program
The first digital versions of the classic typefaces like Bodoni, Garamond, Caslon, Jenson, et al, were pretty bad. Done in a hurry with primitive tools. The classics from Berthold were better than most others and became part of the Adobe library pretty early. But even those didn’t have complete character sets, didn’t offer enough features like old style figures, let alone Greek or Cyrillic. Robert Slimbach is a genius, and John Warnock’s willingness to indulge him and the other designers at Adobe to go back to the sources and re-imagine what the old guys would have done with our tools put Adobe at the front of typographic development in the 1990s.

— Erik Spiekermann, Founder and Partner, FontShop International, Edenspiekermann

Erik Spiekerman and other typographers and type designers discuss how they were introduced to the Originals, and the impact of the program on the world of communications and their own work.

No 10: The Adobe Originals Silver Anniversary Story: Where are they now?
[This series] has offered me the opportunity to think back on some of the perceptions that we had at that time and what we were really up to. I was thinking that John Warnock was the one who really was the visionary. He really had a much broader fantasy about what could happen than anybody else. And most of it came true.

— Sumner Stone, Adobe’s first Director of Typography

 

We caught up with some of the alumni from the Adobe Originals team to see what they’re working on now — and where they expect to see the Originals go in the future.

Kazuraki, a design by Ryoko Nishizuka, based on the handwriting of twelfth-century artist and poet Fujiwara-no-Teika.

Kazuraki, a design by Ryoko Nishizuka, based on the handwriting of twelfth-century artist and poet Fujiwara-no-Teika.

Robert Slimbach’s broad-edged pen exercises and pencil sketches from the development of Warnock Pro. Slimbach was an early advocate of broadening language support in the Adobe Originals, inspiring him to learn to design Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Hebrew in order to extend his Western character sets.

Robert Slimbach’s broad-edged pen exercises and pencil sketches from the development of Warnock Pro. Slimbach was an early advocate of broadening language support in the Adobe Originals, inspiring him to learn to design Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Hebrew in order to extend his Western character sets.

Sketches for Jimbo, an Adobe Original designed by Parkinson and published in 1995.

Sketches for Jimbo, an Adobe Original designed by Parkinson and published in 1995.