Carol Twombly.. Please help me!

softbluecries1's picture

I have spent the past 3 weeks trying to obtain every piece of information about Carol Twombly for a project in my typography class. I keep seeing things on the web about interviews with her.

If anyone knows where (website) I can find an interview with her it would extremely helpful.

I am also looking for information about her life today. Is she married? any kids? that kind of information. The last thing I found is that she retired from Adobe.

hrant's picture

Nicole, I think what does no one any favors is refusing to think; in this case about the relevance of gender. One thing that seems impossible to refute to me is that physical differences exist (including in the brain's structure). What do those differences translate into? I don't pretend to really know myself, although I can be sure that we are better at different things. In any case I refuse to avoid thinking. It's what actions you take with your thoughts that counts. And political correctness is for politicians.

On the other hand I do realize now that "woman-killer" was
way too strong; better would have been... woman-slower-downer. :-)

BTW, from the enrollees in my typeface design class I certainly know that women very much want to be type designers - in fact they seem to outnumber men in that now (although part of it must be a "fallout" from the much greater proportion of women in graphic design as a whole, and the general perception that type design is a subset of graphic design).

> I think we can take it as a given that this reflects
> social pressures, not their “feminine nature”.

Certainly (and I mentioned that myself previously). Like I happen to know that as of a few years ago there were only two women tow-truck drivers in the state of California*, and social expectation must be like 90% of the reason.

* BTW, I discovered this because one of them was Armenian. :-)

> I do like the simplicity of an optical axis going evenly from 8 to 72

But -as you used to say, and I've come to realize- the desirability of that depends on the nature of the design at hand. Think of making even a moderately faithful revival of Caslon in MM, which naturally includes optical scaling - especially in things like the italic "Q": http://themicrofoundry.com/other/caslon_q.gif _
It's not only non-linear, but actually exhibits a -sensical- topological difference!

hhp

Nicole Dotin's picture

"Nicole, I think what does no one any favors is refusing to think"

I couldn't agree more. But, sometimes people think out loud before they have something useful to say (that's not a dig, just a comment...).

Discussions around women's achievements too often include wild (WILD!) speculation about why women are or aren't involved. I don't discount gender difference, but prefer to see it is just one of many factors that go into someone/anyone choosing type design as a career. It's important to look at a number of factors (notably the system through which typefaces get created and published and how a career in type design is formed) and not just what inner qualities women may or may not possess.

Ok, enough chatter, I've got to get back to designing type. :)

katju's picture

Hmm. Intresting to hear, as a newcomer to the forum, where I am most likely lacking some designer qualities because of my gender... Although I am happy to realise, that should I ever want to better my performance, I could consider lesbianism or bisexuality. :) (This is the year 2007, isn't it?)

Just wait and see, we are not in a status quo. The more evolved the society, the more there will be women in traditionally male occupations and vice versa. And the differences talked about will not be those between sexes, but those between individuals. The latter part should be true already, but unfortunately isn't, since people seem to love the stereotypes to great extent.

Hrant, having followed a little bit the brain research and also the studies on what constructs a gender, I can affirm that – despite the efforts – there has not been any findings to support what you are hinting (about the differences between sexes due to brain or other factors). The current paradigm is that one's intrest and talent in engineering, mathematics, painting, typography, graphic design, or what ever else has been mentioned, are for the most part due to culture and upbringing, that is socialisation. Not to brains, hormones or even genetics. Any other paradigms remain to be proven.

And this was first concluded in 1949 by the famous French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir.

dezcom's picture

My daughter seems to be able to do whatever she sets her mind to despite her gender. I wonder what my wife and I have done wrong since she doesn't seem to know about all of these shortcomings?

ChrisL

hrant's picture

> sometimes people think out loud before they have something useful to say

Better than the opposite in my book!

BTW, it's quite interesting that nobody seems to mind Bill's view concerning the inferiority of men in designing text faces - which I actually think has some validity. If this seems confusing, it might be because some people want to think in absolutes, not nuances, ambivalence and complexity.

> The more evolved the society, the more there will be
> women in traditionally male occupations and vice versa.

I would be cautious in calling it "evolved". In my view women were "liberated" from parenting essentially to become slaves for the rich. And compulsory public education (which is essentially a free brainwashing and babysitting service) goes hand-in-hand with that.

> there has not been any findings to support what you are hinting

Except for plain old common sense, which in this male-dominated society
has been demoted. What's most sad is whem women join in to this delusion.

> for the most part

You said it, not me.

Chris, your attitude is a classic deluded Americanism, designed to keep the peons merrily voting.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Can't argue with well substatiated logic like that.

ChrisL

hrant's picture

Over-reliance on Logic is how peons are kept in line.

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Always entertaining that it is the boys discussing how or what the girls are capable of doing.

billtroop's picture

>BTW, it’s quite interesting that nobody seems to mind Bill’s view concerning the inferiority of men in designing text faces - which I actually think has some validity

Well thanks Hrant for the compliment of elevating anything I might innocently say into a 'view'. I'm much too impulsive to have views by and large. I do think men tend to be more egocentric than women, less able to share achievement (though obviously not, for example, Japanese men) . . . . and I think type is best done co-operatively. That really is a view. It has been evolving for a long, long, time. Yet Matthew Carter criticizes me for what he regards as my excessive dependence on other peoples' opinions. 'When are you going to learn to fly solo?' he asked me -- twelve years ago. I have only gotten more neurotic since.

I really also sense that we are on the verge of true changes in gender equality. I do think that women growing up now -- many of them -- will be able to think and do as well as men -- and perhaps men growing up now will be able to do likewise?

Again I really do recommend Ronell's 'The Test Drive' as a foundational thought provoking book for this era.

One thing I would like to point out about Adobe is that Carol had problems, and some of them had to do with the fact that she was a woman and had been trained to be compliant. However, the men had their problems too, and some of them were the same problems. So to a certain extent, it's unfair to bring gender into it, yet you certainly can't leave it out either. It's the corporate control structure that was the cause of all these problems. Yet without the corporate control structure, and all that entailed, you would not have had these designers working in a somewhat collaborative environment, which is good. Apparently there are no right answers. So maybe I've been asking the wrong questions?

William Berkson's picture

>always entertaining

Harvard's faculty was less than amused when President Larry Summers raised this issue.

He was ultimately forced to resign, in circumstances explained in this article by Alan Dershowitz.

Si_Daniels's picture

>Over-reliance on Logic is how peons are kept in line.

Randomly quoting from Star Trek does little for your credibility. Although I think it was Vulcans not peons. :-)

TBiddy's picture

Always entertaining that it is the boys discussing how or what the girls are capable of doing.

Yes it is! You beat me to it, Tiff. :) I was next waiting for the discussion on the merits of natural childbirth.

Also check out this thread for more on female type designers. Please add to the list.

hrant's picture

William: Yes, the tyranny of silencing anti-establishment thought now extends even to the highest echelons of US education. You have made your system hermetic; which means however than when the time comes your fall will be gargantuan. As it was with Rome.

Terry, childbirth is actually a central key to this discussion. Let's see Chris deliver... BTW, I remember when my wife was pregnant, seeing her delight when the baby started kicking, deep down I was envious (if otherwise I was relieved to be well clear of bearing children :-) which was a jolting and bitter-sweet realization for me. But anyway it is not meant to be. And that sort of human reality permeates everything.

--

BTW, something that's even more relevant than social "conditioning" and certainly gender in terms of what we end up doing in life is Circumstance, what life throws at us. Would Carter have ended up designing type if his father wasn't involved in type? And what about his father's father's circumstances? It all blends into the dark strands of history, and we have no control. This BTW is something the West has great trouble with.

hhp

dezcom's picture

"Over-reliance on Logic..."

Well that is one thing Hrant will never be guilty of :-)

ChrisL

hrant's picture

Fake smile[y]s are disgusting.
And tellingly, middle-aged white males use them a lot.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Thank god I am well past middle age then :-)

ChrisL

Kristina Drake's picture

Feeling the strongest feminine instinctual urge (or would that be desire? or hysteria?) to quote Woolf and her "on women" library list as well as the bit about Shakespeare's sister.

Would have loved to have been able to present this thread in my writing by women class (offered as part of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute...)

There really should be studies to look at the phenomena of men who try to solve the "Feminine problem." It sounds like often the "feminine problem" exists because men have assigned it that label, and acted accordingly.

Keep it up, the discussion is interesting and provoking.

hrant's picture

Those of us who try to "solve" it are simply being
our dumb males selves - please forgive our nature.

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

>Fake smile[y]s are disgusting.

So are you asking me to insert real smileys into Georgia? You know I can do that.

Live long and prosper, Si

William Berkson's picture

I love Typophile. Something must be very wrong with me :)

dezcom's picture

The scene fades as we watch Si singing his rendition of "Georgia on My Mind" and putting a yellow smiley face sticker from Walmarts on Hrant's door...FTB

ChrisL

William Berkson's picture

Little known fact: "Live long and Prosper" is a loose translation of the traditional Jewish greeting "Shalom U'vracha". It is accompanied in Star Trek by Leonard Nimoy giving a hand sign with the four fingers divided in the middle into a 'V', the sign indicating a Hebrew letter 'Shin', abbreviation for one of the names of God, and used by those in the Priestly class--cohanim--to bless the congregation.

And subsequently Leonard Nimoy, who is Jewish, showed his devotion to his faith by publishing a book of photos of young naked women wrapped in transparent prayer shawls.

All true!

And that's why Hrant is such a trekkie! (not true :)

dezcom's picture

"transparent prayer shawls"

That creates a strange image.
Fran Drescher in Saran Wrap :-)

ChrisL

hrant's picture

I like the original Star Trek series, but none of the newer ones. And to make a Trekkie comment that's not a self-aggrandizing distraction from the topic(s) at hand, I would point out that Kirk's behavior towards women is now considered politically incorrect, which to me is most of all an indication of how shallow and coercive we've become. Bill, "on the verge of true changes in gender equality"? Equality is death - the great dehumanizer.

hhp

Bruce's picture

Cleo Huggins (or did someone already mention her?)
Gudrun Zapf von Hesse

Thomas Phinney's picture

A 22-page (!) article on Carol Twombly and her type design work at Adobe in the early 90s can be found in Design Graphics magazine, issue #4. What's amazing is that you can still buy this back issue direct from the magazine in Australia.

http://www.designgraphics.com.au/issues/backissues.php

I read this at the time and it was one of the things that seriously cemented my interest in type design back then. Good article.

Thanks to Christopher Slye for digging this up. I still have it around here somewhere as well.

Cheers,

T

Bert Vanderveen's picture

This is becoming an awfully long thread AND completely off topic — but today (when looking for FontStudio software) I found this:

http://faculty.mdc.edu/earteaga/gra1206/1206l10.html

May be of interest to the original poster.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Note: That piece incorrectly credits Carol with designing Pepperwood, Rosewood and Zebrawood. These were designed by other women in the type group at Adobe.

Miguel Sousa's picture

Pepperwood, Rosewood and Zebrawood were initially released in 1993, and designed by Kim Buker Chansler, Carl Crossgrove and Carol Twombly.

billtroop's picture

>but today (when looking for FontStudio software)

If you're looking for FontStudio, you're looking in the wrong place. You want the latest beta, the PPC/FPU version if you're on a reasonably modern Mac. Works fine last time I tried it. I got my copy from Harold Grey when he was still the bootblack at ITC and passed it on to Lucas de Groot . . . and Carol Twombly.

I don't think I like the metrics editing, which I admit I can't figure out, but I love the fact that if a point is selected, tab/shift-tab brings you to the next/previous handle, node -- it's much more useful than what we now have in Flab, and of course far more useful than Fog in this respect. This is a beautiful fine tuning tool. You're on a handle, you adjust with the cursor; you tab over to the next handle on the path, adjust, tab to that next node, adjust, tab to its handles, tab to the next node's handles . . . . etc. What an exquisite way to fine-tune an outline, and you never have to do something so inane and cumbersome and time consuming, and interruptive of your creative flow as look for your mouse cursor, fiddle with it, etc. etc. This is how it should be. It is creative heaven, provided by machines. Yuri, instead of having tab (a character whose significance you too often ignore) move you from handle to node to handle, and back again, it would be wonderful if you let tab take you to the next node, just as FontStudio does. This tab action, of course, will only take place when a node is selected, and it will only, as so elegantly implemented in Font Studio, work for selected nodes. You have what seems to me rather a wrong thing going on, which is that handles can't be edited while several nodes are selected, since navigating to a handle automatically deselects the selection. Why is that? FontStudio doesn't seem to have a problem with it. And by the way, am I the only person who thinks that the use of Tab in the Flab glyph window when nothing is selected -- turning on and off the rudimentary and useless character selection panel -- is a waste of a good control character?

dezcom's picture

Didn't FontStudio fade away into oblivion years ago?

ChrisL

hrant's picture

> These were designed by other women in the type group at Adobe.

Funny.
"Yeah, one o'thems wimins done did it."

BTW it's sounding like Carl's story would be even more interesting than Carol's... Hey wait, look at their names... maybe they're the same person?! ;-)

hhp

crossgrove's picture

But plenty of people have seen me and Carol in the same place at one time. Sorry. ;)

However, lots of non-native English speakers seem to think the 2 names are the same....

Kim Buker Chansler did the design of the Woodtype 3 package, and I filled out the character set and finished the outlines and spacing, under Carol Twombly's direction. So, each of us were involved, but not in the same capacity. You could call the roles Designer, Production, and Art Direction. I needed a lot more direction then, and Carol was very encouraging and reassuring to work with.

hrant's picture

Ah, twins then. Which however doesn't resolve the gender suspiciousnesseses...

hhp

billtroop's picture

>Didn’t FontStudio fade away into oblivion years ago?

There are those who still use it. The main reason is that there is NOTHING that will let you gracefully flit from point to point, handle handle, using just the tab keys and cursor keys, while you perfect your curves. It is one of the most powerful creative experiences the computer allows. If you are really interested in perfecting your letter shapes, FontStudio's mechanism is glorious. Yuri, is there any reason not to put this into Fontlab?

Also nice is the 800% zoom. Not even FontLab has that, though Fog5 went to 3200% and I sometimes wished it would do more.

The main limitation of FontStudio for me, for the project that I would most have liked to use it, was that it only worked in integer point units and I wanted the extra precision that Fog 4/5 (or Ikarus/whatever DTL calls it now) allow.

Carol used to say she could not bear to draw in anything else.

I believe the code is owned by Adobe now . . . . which swallowed up the brilliant engineers who did that (and Chameleon, etc. etc.) and were never heard of again -- was Russ McCann the lead? Yes, see http://www.ucmsds.com/company/who_officers.cfm for what has become of him. I wonder who actually does own the code still? But I'm pretty sure it's Adobe. Hey, does anyone have a Chameleon beta 2?

dezcom's picture

Somewhere I might still have my copy of FontStudio but I cannot imagine it would run on current systems. I remember liking the way the nodes would turn to large black circles just as they would join, indicating a proper connection.

ChrisL

hrant's picture

> I wanted the extra precision

But it's a deceptively dangerous precision, since when you generate a font it all gets rounded to integers anyway. If you want more precision you use a larger EM, but that limits you to TT fonts, in which case your precision is toast if you draw in cubic beziers (since they get converted, not supremely faithfully, to quadratics).

hhp

dezcom's picture

You can draw type 1 otf flavored fonts at greater than 1000 units. I have used both 2000 and 2048 without issue. This may not have been true a few years ago pre opentype but I am not sure about that part.

ChrisL

hrant's picture

But the point is no size of integer EM during output is going to match a floating-point scheme during design. With floating-point you're always working with a degree of precision that will get amputated, unmanageably.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Yes, but you are not stuck with 1000 units in type one and the floating point issue still holds for TrueType as well. FontLab takes away the options that can get badly missrepresented with rounding but it makes the drawing "seem" too coarse.

ChrisL

hrant's picture

Those quotes being critical there.

> you are not stuck with 1000 units

It depends who you're designing for.

hhp

billtroop's picture

>> I wanted the extra precision
>But it’s a deceptively dangerous precision, since when you generate a font it all gets rounded to integers anyway. If you want more precision you use a larger EM, but that limits you to TT fonts, in which case your precision is toast if you draw in cubic beziers (since they get converted, not supremely faithfully, to quadratics).

You're missing the point, Hrant. How type gets processed today is a temporary thing; PostScript and TrueType weren't the first digital systems for processing type, and they won't be the last. There are designers who are unhappy about the current limitations of PS and TT. (Just think about a sans Z -- you may want it raised it 1/2 or 3/4 of a unit off the baseline; you don't want it by a full unit, to give a very simple example; you may take that if it's all you can get, but you know it's not the ideal.). Just ask Bitstream if they're going to throw away their master data at 15,000 units just because an inferior system has sway for this decade and last decade, but certainly not the next, or the one after that, unless it gains a little more precision. You want the satisfaction of knowing that, however you output your type today, you can design it to higher resolution and you can confidently hope that one day it will be possible for it to be outputted at higher resolution.

The other overwhelming reason for higher precision is to avoid the round-off errors that often occur during transformation operations. Serioius Fontlab and Robofab users now have some facility for doing this, but it all seems kludgy.

Chris, I am running FontStudio 2.02 Beta 1 Plus under Classic on OS 10.4.8, and don't seem to notice any problems. All this and the code is just over 1MB.

crossgrove's picture

Berthold had the same concerns about the PS conversions of their full-res Ikarus data, and their concerns were essentially laid to rest. Adapting type designs to fit an 18 or 24 unit system is a problem; 1000 units really isn't all that shabby. And, as has been pointed out, you're welcome to work at any scale you want. Keep the data and see what happens. I just think that whatever design you come up with, fitting the curve elements onto a 1000-unit grid is not much of a compromise. It's simply one of the challenges of the current format, and given all the other advantages we have (wild kerns, contextual substitution, excruciating precision, huge character sets, limitless design options, overlapping shapes), it's not a deal-breaker.

hrant's picture

> How type gets processed today is a temporary thing

Temporary? For an oak tree maybe. For actual users it's Reality.

> Just ask Bitstream if they’re going to throw
> away their master data at 15,000 units

Please re-read what I wrote about large EMs vs floating point.

> 1000 units really isn’t all that shabby.

It's not shabby as a design space, but it's very
much problematic as a "blind rounding" space.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Hrant: Because what’s hard to pull off is being called a philosopher a couple of millennia after you’re dead. Of those, the only female we seem to have is Sappho.

There are actually quite a lot of female philosophers of antiquity, of whom Hypatia of Alexandria is probably the most famous; during her life, she was considered by many the most important neo-platonist of either sex. Sappho was a lyric poet, and while you might find some of her verse 'philosophical' -- which is today used as a synonym for thought-provoking -- it generally does not fit the classical understanding of philosophy. It is significant that Sappho's name does not appear in this list, for example,

http://www.geocities.com/athens/forum/9974/old.html

John Hudson's picture

By the way, speaking of women philosophers of antiquity, the one who should be best known to typographers is Diotima, after whom Gudrun Zapf von Hesse named one of her typefaces.

hrant's picture

> it generally does not fit the classical understanding of philosophy.

It doesn't fit the contemporary mainstream formal Western definition of philosophy.

And it remains that Sappho is the only one familiar to most people. This is something everybody, including people immersed in formal philosophy, need to come to grips with.

hhp

billtroop's picture

Hrant, do you mean this?

>But the point is no size of integer EM during output is going to match a floating-point scheme during design. With floating-point you’re always working with a degree of precision that will get amputated, unmanageably.

I think you are wrong but don't worry, nobody expects you to admit it. I suspect that when we speak of floating point points, we are in practice still speaking of a limited degree of float. I doubt the Fog database format stores data to more than two decimal places. Suppose there was one decimal place: that would be a space of 10,000 units; if there were two decimal palces, that would be 100,000 units. Yuri would know.

Postscript will sooner or later move to floating point because it has nowhere else to go -- in fact, David Lemon has explained that to a certain extent it already has done so. (I don't recall exactly how to get it to work, but apparently it _can_ work.) I can see all kinds of benefits to this precision even where there the output cannot resolve the available precision. For example, hinting algorithms could be much more accurate, couldn't they?

hrant's picture

Sure, if the decimal places are severly limited it would be the same (and I do mean the same - as in no point doing it!) as a large EM - although as you see even two decimal places is equivalent to an EM much bigger than anybody uses. But it's probably not limited to anything that small, because of the way floating point numbers are typically represented in computers (what they sacrifice is precision in very small differences).

Now if I'm wrong, I'll have no problem admitting it. In the interim though I think you might want to admit that a lack of mathematical affinity is most likely causing you confusion. :-)

> I can see all kinds of benefits to this precision

There are hypothetical benefits, but practical drawbacks.
You choose.

hhp

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