Robert Slimbach

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Robert Slimbach
Born 1956 (age 59–60)
Occupation Principal Designer, Adobe Systems

Robert Slimbach is Principal Type Designer at Adobe Systems, where he has worked since 1987.[1] He has won many awards for his digital typeface designs, including the rarely awarded Prix Charles Peignot from the Association Typographique Internationale, the SoTA Typography Award, and repeated TDC2 awards from the Type Directors Club.[2] His typefaces are among the most commonly used in books.[3]

Biography[edit]

Slimbach's signature on a copy of the Arno Pro specimen.
Slimbach's fonts often feature complex features and stylistic alternates. Here in Acumin, there are two heights of numbers: one slightly lower than the capitals to avoid seeming too large in continuous text, one exactly at cap height to give a cleaner look in situations that only feature capitals and numbers, like UK postcodes.[4] Slimbach's Adobe Clean features an even wider set of number styles.[5]

Slimbach was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1956. Shortly after, he moved to Southern California where he spent his childhood and his youth. After leaving college he developed an interest in graphic design and typefaces while running a small screen printshop for manufacturing posters and greeting cards. This work brought him into contact with Autologic Incorporated in Newbury Park, California. After training from 1983 to 1985, Slimbach worked as a type designer with Autologic Incorporation, where Sumner Stone also worked for a short time. There he received further training, not just as a type designer but also as a calligrapher.[6] Slimbach was then self-employed for two years and developed the two typefaces ITC Slimbach and ITC Giovanni for the International Typeface Corporation.[7][8]

In 1987 he joined Adobe Systems. Since then, he has concentrated primarily on designing typefaces for digital technology, often drawing inspiration from classical sources. He has developed many new fonts for the Adobe Originals program. Among his early projects at Adobe were the Utopia (1988), Adobe Garamond (1989), Minion (1990) and Poetica (1992) families.

In 1991, he received the Prix Charles Peignot from the Association Typographique Internationale for excellence in type design. More recently, Slimbach's own calligraphy formed the basis for his typeface Brioso. Slimbach has described himself as being particularly interested in humanist and serif projects, calling his work on the neo-grotesque Acumin, in the Swiss modernist style, as being "outside of the design realm I normally prefer."[4][9][10]

Since 2000, the rate of Slimbach's (and Adobe's) new typefaces has slowed, as he has taken advantage of the new linguistic and typographic capabilities offered by the OpenType format. Where in the 1990s a given typeface design might be instantiated in one or two fonts, with 200-500 glyphs, a typical new Slimbach work post-2000 has 1500-3000 glyphs.[11] Reviewing Slimbach's 2007 project Arno, font designer Mark Simonson noted that it 'almost becomes a different typeface' when italic alternates are enabled.[12] A trademark of Slimbach's designs is his use of a 'Th' ligature.

In 2004, Adobe released Garamond Premier Pro, a new take on the Garamond designs, which Slimbach had been working on for 15 years, since he first completed Adobe Garamond in 1989.

Outside of work for public use, Slimbach has designed Adobe's corporate font, Adobe Clean Sans and Adobe Clean Serif, which are used by Adobe in branding and user interfaces.[5]

Slimbach has notable skills in several fields other than type design: he went to college on a gymnastics scholarship, and he is an accomplished calligrapher and photographer. His photographic work uses black & white film, and is mainly portraits that examine human foibles and idiosyncrasies.

Typefaces[edit]

Before Slimbach came to Adobe, he has designed the following fonts for the International Typeface Corporation (ITC):

  • ITC Slimbach
  • ITC Giovanni

Slimbach typefaces designed before the 2000s were first released in the PostScript Type 1 format, and later re-released in the more capable OpenType format (abbreviated OT in the following table).

Typeface families designed by Robert Slimbach for Adobe Systems[13]
Name First released OT re-release
(for Type 1 fonts)
Supported scripts Weights Optical sizes for OT release Widths Notes
Acumin 2015 N/A Latin Thin, Extra-light, Light, Regular, Medium, Semi-bold, Bold, Black, Ultra No Extra Condensed, Condensed, Semi Condensed, Normal, Wide
Arno 2007 (OT Pro) N/A Latin, Cyrillic, Greek Light (only at Display size),
Regular, Bold, Semibold
Yes Normal
Brioso 2003 (OT Pro) N/A Latin Light, Regular, Medium, Semibold, Bold Yes Normal
Caflisch Script  ? 2001 (OT Pro) Latin Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold No Normal
Cronos 1996 (Type 1) 2002 (OT Pro) Latin Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold Yes Normal
Adobe Garamond 1989 (Type 1) 2001 (OT Pro) Latin Regular, Semibold, Bold No Normal
Garamond Premier 2005 (OT Pro) N/A Latin, Cyrillic, Greek Light (only at Display size),
Regular, Medium, Semibold, Bold
Yes Normal
Adobe Jenson 1996 (Type 1) 2000 (OT Pro) Latin Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold Yes Normal
Kepler  ? (Type 1) 2003 (OT Std) Latin Light, Regular, Medium, Semibold, Bold, Black Yes Condensed,
Semicondensed,
Normal, Extended
Minion 1990 (Latin), 1992 (Cyrillic)
(Type 1)
2000 (OT Pro);
2002 (OT Std)
Latin (1990); Cyrillic (1992) (Type 1);
Latin, Cyrillic, Greek (2000 OT Pro);
(2002 OT Std)
Regular, Medium, Semibold, Bold (2000);
Black (2002, no Italic variant)
Yes (2000 release) Normal, Condensed
(2000 release)
Myriad
(with Carol Twombly)
1992 (Type 1) 2000 (OT Pro);
2011 (OT)
Latin (Type 1);
Latin, Cyrillic, Greek (2000 OT Pro);
Arabic, Hebrew (2011 OT)
Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold, Black No Condensed,
Semicondensed,
Normal, Extended
(2000 release)
Poetica 1992 (Type 1) 2003 (OT Pro) Latin Regular No Normal
Sanvito 1993 (Type 1) 2002 (OT Pro) Latin Light, Regular Yes Normal
Adobe Text 2009 (OT Pro) N/A Latin, Cyrillic, Greek Regular, Semibold, Bold No Normal
Trajan 3
(with Carol Twombly)
2011 (OT Pro) N/A Latin, Cyrillic, Greek Extralight, Light, Regular, Bold, Black No Normal
Trajan Sans
(with Carol Twombly)
2011 (OT Pro) N/A Latin, Cyrillic, Greek Extralight, Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold, Black No Normal
Utopia 1989 (Type 1) 2002 (OT Std) Latin Regular, Semibold, Bold,
Black (only at Headline size; no italic style)
Yes Normal
Warnock 2000 (OT Pro) N/A Latin, Cyrillic, Greek Light, Regular, Semibold, Bold Yes Normal

Awards[edit]

  • Arno Pro[14] — TDC2 2007 winning entry
  • Brioso Pro[15] — TDC2 2002 winning entry
  • Caflisch Script Pro (added many typographic alternates) — bukva:raz! 2001 winner
  • Garamond Premier Pro[16] — TDC2 2006 winning entry
  • Minion Pro (added Greek) — bukva:raz! 2001 winner
  • Warnock Pro — TDC2 2001 winning entry
  • Myriad Pro (added Greek and Cyrillic, with Carol Twombly, Fred Brady and Christopher Slye) — TDC2 2000 winning entry and bukva:raz! 2001 winner

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Robert Slimbach - profile". Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "SOTA Typography Award Honors Robert Slimbach". SOTA. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  3. ^ Coles, Stephen. "Top Ten Typefaces Used by Book Design Winners". FontFeed. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Slimbach, Robert. "Using Acumin". Acumin microsite. Adobe Systems. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "A New Face for Adobe". Typekit Blog. Adobe. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  6. ^ King, Emily. "West Coast (PhD thesis chapter)". Typotheque. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Shaw, Paul (2000). "The Typefaces of Robert Slimbach". Print. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  8. ^ Riggs, Tamye. "The Adobe Originals Silver Anniversary Story: Stone, Slimbach, and Twombly launch the first Originals". Adobe Typekit. Adobe Systems. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Twardoch, Slimbach, Sousa, Slye (2007). Arno Pro (PDF). San Jose: Adobe Systems. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Coles, Stephen. "New Additions: November 2015". Identifont. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  11. ^ Riggs, Tamye. "The Adobe Originals Silver Anniversary Story". Typekit blog. Adobe. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Simonson, Mark. "Arno review". Typographica. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Adobe Type
  14. ^ Main page for Arno Pro at Adobe.com
  15. ^ Main page for Brioso Pro at Adobe.com
  16. ^ Main page for Garamond Premier Pro at Adobe.com

External links[edit]