TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Tue Jan 16 15:10:17 EST 2018

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LUC DEVROYE


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Nick Shinn on Adobe

Nick Shinn quotes Adobe's founders, John Warnock and Chuck Geschke from "Inside the Publishing Revolution," Peachpit Press, 2003: "We had been chosen, for better or worse, as primary influencers of an industry with 500 years of tradition, aesthetics, and values. We now had the responsibility to the industry to do the right thing. It became our goal to build a company whose culture and values reflected that responsibility." He goes on: "The right thing to do now would be for Adobe to divest its foundry business." He expplains: " [...] The type culture we have has been homogenized by the massive giveaway of fonts [...] The end result is a dumbed-down font culture dominated by retro (no royalty fees), and utilitarian fonts. Adobe killed the goose that laid the golden egg, in the early 90s. At that time there was a boom in font sales, so they probably didn't think that bundling scores of typefaces on Illustrator and Photoshop CDs would make much difference. The mostly-tawdry fonts they gave away (so as not to pay royalty fees) really infected font culture. I mean, that was the 1990s, did we really need to be defined by Gill Sans (1930) or Serpentine (1970)? Serpentine fulfilled the need for a techno/sporty typeface, so most typographers used it because it was on hand, rather than supporting contemporary type designers who provided the genuine article. [...] What is it with the ubiquity of Trade Gothic and Helvetica? Why do the majority of typographers have such an aversion to the work of contemporary type designers? [...] It's a little too easy to say that fonts are not a consumer product, and that designers' tastes are naturally conservative. I would say that the present day utilitarian, stagnant aesthetic is a direct result of the giveaways by the software giants."

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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html