Robert Slimbach: Type Designer for the Digital Age
Today, Friday March 2, 2012 is a special day for modern typographers and designers. It is the 25 years to the day that Robert Slimbach came to work at Adobe Systems. To put it in perspective, Robert joined Adobe in 1987, just two years after Aldus PageMaker, Adobe PostScript, and the Apple LaserWriter came together to start the desktop publishing revolution.
Slimbach was one of the first staff type designers for Adobe, back when Adobe had a rigorous in-house type-design department. Those were heady days for digital type design and Adobe was at the forefront, honoring the past by digitizing metal fonts yet pushing for innovation with fonts that took advantage of what modern technology had to offer. In 1989 Slimbach drew a font that served notice to staid holders of typographic tradition that Adobe was to be taken seriously as a provider of fonts for a new era. That font was Adobe Garamond.
In 1990, Adobe released Minion, one of its first fonts that was completely original and not a reimagined or redrawn typeface form the past. Legible at a vast range of sizes and applications, the serif face has become a default text font for many digital designers. Two years later, Adobe released Myriad, the font he co-designed with Carol Twombly, another in-house designer. Myriad is the sturdy, flexible sans serif that has become indispensable to designers around the globe. In my mind it is the most important typeface of the millennium.
The list of fonts that Slimbach has designed is formidable. A complete list can be found on Adobe's type blog Typblography.
With all these accomplishments, Slimbach is a quiet, unassuming person — shy even — who'd rather let his fonts do the talking. I've had the pleasure of his company at many events and it's always been an honor.
So congratulations, Robert, and thank you for your exquisite craftsmanship and dedication. All creative professionals are in your debt.