Carol Twombly – Typography

Typographers , text freaks, font fanatics, call them what you want. Tonight I sat down to complete a project about  Typographers. I hastily chose a “subject”  around a week ago from the long list of potential typographers to complete my research notes.
The briefing details were quite simply to pick a person from the list and to script an editorial piece, a show and tell about this person. To begin  I could find the list of typographers posted on the team blog.

carol twombly
Carol Twombly at Adobe Systems

I chose Carol Twombly, for no particular reason, I mean, it’s not likely a topic for me ever to be interested in again, right? that was until I began to research more about the amazing career of Carol Twombly.

Carol Twombly had been initially inspired to become an artist of difference, a sculpture by hand being her first studies and later on she had changed to graphic design.  She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and moved to Stanford University. Carol Twombly made it into the top five graduates to have Masters of science degrees in computer science and typography design.

Carol Twombly List of Typefaces

While working at Adobe Systems from 1988-1999 Carol Twombly designed and contributed to the design of, many typefaces for example: Trajan, Myriad and Adobe Caslon.  Trajan is highly respected within the typographers and graphic designers industry as being one of the best.

Adobe Caslon
Adobe Caslon

Her first international type design competition, Carol Twombly received an award for, “Morisawa gold prize 1984. In 1994  she was the winner of the Prix Charles Peignot, given by the Association Typographique Internationale (Atypl)” The first women, and second American citizen to receive such an award as a promising typeface designer under the age of 35yrs.

TV Show popularised Typeface by Carol Twombly
TV Show popularised Typeface by Carol Twombly

Her real achievement personally was to register and trademark 40 designs within her limited time career.  Some of these became international success and popularised by many multi media and television studios.






Typical Typefaces created by Twombly.

Adobe Caslon (1990)
Californian FB (roman only)
Chaparral (1997)
Charlemagne (1989)
Lithos (1989)
• Mirarae (1984)
• Myriad (1991, designed with Robert Slimbach)
• Nueva (1994)
• Pepperwood (1993)
• Rosewood (1993)
Trajan (1989)
• Viva (1993)
• Zebrawood (1993)

Twombly had a specialised interest and created many of her typeface fonts inspired by and named after woods and trees were part of an Adobe project to revive American display typefaces from the nineteenth century that had been engraved in wood.


Interestingly, Twombly left the industry around 2014 explaining her reasons for this decision included a lack of interest in designing fonts, also for the failure of Adobe multi master font technology.





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