Carol Twombly / Nancy Stock-Allen


It is difficult to imagine a graphic designer in the last quarter century who is not familiar with at least some of Carol Twombly's typefaces. Yet many of those who use her fonts today would be hard pressed to name their designer. This volume aims to shed light on Twombly's career, and in the process, offer insight into the early years of digital type design, the history and culture of Adobe Type, and the practice of other type designers in the early years of the digital era.

Twombly studied at the Rhode Island School of Design under Professor Charles Bigelow, and also studied at the Bigelow & Holmes studio. She joined Adobe Systems in 1988, when the company was hiring young designers for their newly launched type department. During her ten years at Adobe, she designed some of the most recognizable and popular typeface on the market today, including Trajan (1989), Charlemagen (1989), Lithos (1989), Adobe Caslon (1990), Myriad (1991, with Robert Slimbach), Via (1993), Nueva (1994), and Chaparral (1997).

In 1994, Twombly won the Prix Charles Peignot, given by the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI). She was the first woman, and second American, to receive the award. Despite having achieved international recognition, Twombly was uncomfortable being in the public eye at conferences and in Adobe marketing materials. She also grew dissatisfied with changes at Adobe and with her evolving role at the company. In 1999 she left both Adobe and her career to pursue other artistic interests.

This profile of a female designer who rose to the top of a field historically dominated by men, at a time of barrier-breaking and technological revolution, is based on extensive interviews and correspondence with Carol Twombly by author Nancy Stock-Allen. Stock-Allen, formerly Professor of Graphic Design and department chair at the Moore College of Art and Design, is herself a graphic designer as well as a writer whose focus is on design, type, and women in design history.

Illustrated throughout with halftones, examples of Twombly's design process, and copious type specimens, this history will be of great interest to anyone involved or interested in type design, typography, and computer-aided graphic design.

Designed and typeset by Nancy Stock-Allen in Carol Twombly's type designs of Adobe Trajan and Adobe Caslon Pro

Published by Oak Knoll Press, 2016

176 pages, halftone illustrations (b&w), 6.625 × 9.875 inches

ISBN: 978-1-58456-346-4