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

This is typical. The more angry somebody is at something* and the more powerless he is against it the more he imagines its presence, in order to be able to react to the perceived injustice instead of looking at the sad scene in the mirror.

* In your case, men?

> you should have just said so.

You sound like Inspector Clouseau.

If you're serious, think deeply (and to yourself for
a while) about what this Difference truly implies.


Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Ooooooh, hitting below the belt.

That is completely uncalled for, Hrant. OK, so now you're saying not-very-nice things about me... Whatever lets you come out on top, I guess...

Thanks a lot for getting nasty with me.

hrant's picture

Work on your apology skills (not to mention your reading skills) and things are likely to improve for you.


Nick Shinn's picture

Yes, I trust that true to form you’ve firmly ignored any advice from Bulgarians.

I'm assuming that the alphabetic forms represented in the fonts published by Hermes Soft are correct. In general, I favour doing research over getting advice, although I did attend the Maxim Zhukov TDC seminar on Cyrillics earlier this year.

twardoch's picture

Poland is in the geographical centre of the European continent. This is largely due to the fact that the European part of Russia is quite large (though of course it's nothing compared to the Asian part of Russia).

If you look at this map (which correctly shows the European part of Russia) then Poland really looks like being very much in the middle (along with Germany):

This is the reason why the Polish (along with the Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians) like to insist that they're "Central European" and not "East European" countries. I believe after the extension of the EU this distinction is actually bearing some sense — one can reserve the term "East European" for Cyrillic-written countries such as Russia, Ukraine or Belarus, while the Central European ones are those that used to be Eastern, aspire to be Western but aren't quite there yet.

Of course, if you exclude Russia from Europe completely, and disregard the notion of "Central" Europe, then even Hamburg is an Eastern European city. ;)


William Berkson's picture

Yes, 'mental geography' vs real geography is amusing. Here in the US we tend to think of South America as directly South of the US, but in fact the bulk of it is east of Boston.

We think of Stockholm and Vienna as 'Western' and Prague and Gdansk as 'Eastern'. But actually Stockholm is pretty much straight north of Gdansk and Vienna is pretty far East of Prague.

And Africa is six times the size of Europe.

And Chicago is further from San Francisco than London is from Moscow...

dezcom's picture

I don't know, Adam. It looks like Slovakia edges out Poland for center--and it's a "green" State :-)


John Hudson's picture

Hrant: If you include Russia friggin’ Kazakhstan is the center of Europe.

I don't think anyone seriously considers including all of Russia in Europe. Russia is perhaps unique in occupying two continents. Europe stops at the Urals.

hrant's picture

The problem is people seriously try to figure out where the center of Europe is at all. The concept of "Western" is very valid; trying to nail down its geography is not.


Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Hi, Hrant. I come in peace.

I just want to say that I was not trying to offend or anger you. Should I avoid generalizations? Yes! Should I read more carefully? Yes!! Is this an apology? Yes!!!

Still friends? No hard feelings?


hrant's picture

Thanks for apologizing. For my part, I was too harsh - I'm sorry.

That said, please don't stop generalizing! :->


Renaissance Man's picture

This thread was one of the longest and most fascinating and delightful threads I've ever read at Typophile.

Most of the topics are rightly about the minutiae of type design and the finer points of typography, layout, design, readability, and legibility. And there are the inevitable poseurs and posturers that come out of the woodwork (my font, idea, opinion, my [fill in the blank_____] can beat up yours, was there first, etc.).

But it sure is nice to read about the trials and tribulations of real people in in the workaday world and what they go through to bring us the type we use. I thank all who contributed to this thread. But I especially want to thank Bill Troop. I tried to contact him outside this forum, to no avail, so the only way I can convey my gratitude for his contribution is via this forum.

hrant's picture

He might or might not see this soon, so if you give me your email
I'll pass it along to him. Mine is: hpapazian_at_gmail_dot_com


George Horton's picture

It's good to read typophile again :-)
(That smiley stands for a real smile.)

If it's still relevant, Adobe Caslon is one of the two digital types I find most endlessly enjoyable to look at. I'd rather see headlines in it than in Big Caslon. (Does anyone else dislike both Big Caslon and Caslon's large sizes? I hope they weren't by Wm Caslon I, whose text sizes were inconsistent in everything but their excellence.)

Nick Shinn's picture

It’s good to read typophile again :-)

Access denied during term?

William Berkson's picture

According to James Mosley's notes to the reprint of Caslon's 1766 specimen book, most of the large sizes were done by Caslon I, though some are by others.

Of course Big Caslon has a lot of Matthew Carter in it also. Another take on the large sizes is Caslon 540, originally from ATF. Do you dislike that as well?

Caslon I has much more logic to his alphabets and different sizes than is obvious; it has only taken me a couple of years full time to figure this out :)

I don't agree with your assessment of Adobe Caslon, and in particular that it does well at large sizes. Carol Twombly herself said it shouldn't be used at large sizes. For starters, at large sizes the flat-top serifs on the Roman have a 'bone effect' that I find unattractive.

George Horton's picture

Hi Nick, I've been increasingly unwell, and had to quit Reading. Things may be looking up, but I'm getting on a bit and should probably earn some money at some stage. I've had a set of ideas for what I hope could be a really worthwhile text face, now a very long way from Griffo; but (a) I still can't draw and (b) I don't know FontLab well enough to do the necessary OpenType stuff for context-sensitive serifs; there's also (c) of course, which is that, as a first type, it's going to be ****, though a long crit-tweak cycle might help.

Thanks William, though there goes my hope. (No, I don't like 540 either.) When you say Caslon I has much more logic to his alphabets and different sizes than is obvious, do you mean his text sizes too? I'd love to hear more about that. As for Adobe Caslon, I don't mean to say that it "works" at large sizes, just that it gives me an always-pleasant opportunity to admire its design. Your own work on Caslon must have made you more discriminating. Will you write up, or have you already, your thinking about Caslon, and about the development of your Caslon Next?

William Berkson's picture

>Will you write up, or have you already

I did talk about it at TypeCon last summer. It has changed significantly since then as well as expanded. I hope I when I next talk or write about it, it will be finished.

And yes, the text sizes too. There is also a lot of just random variation too, so that makes it harder to pin down what makes it great, and separate the logic from what was a case of needing to get it out the door--which I am increasingly appreciating :)

Very sorry to hear that you had to drop out of Reading. I do hope you are well now.

blondie_border's picture

Does anyone know how i can get a hold of softbluecries1? I have to do a presentation on Carol as well for my typographic class and would like to compare research. I'm new to this website and can't figure out how to get in touch with her

Miss Tiffany's picture

Lindsey you can contact softblue through their profile

hrant's picture

So what about that stand-up comic business after all, eh?


pattyfab's picture

Hrant! Long time no.

dezcom's picture

Happy New Year, Hrant!


asgeirhm'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.

Has anybody still got that article? Looks like DG has removed the back issues offer.

methylene's picture

About one year after your first post on this thread, I find myself researching the very same Carol Twombly for typography class... Thanks, Heather, for what you started here, I'm new to design altogether and type is something I have grown to love in the last couple of weeks. Reading all this about her and other random things makes me realize I have so much to learn, and it's exciting :]


PHAEL0N's picture


It seems as if I'm not the only one in search of the mystique that is Carol Twombl(e)y.

Its been a VERY interesting, educating, and opinionated thread to have read through.

Im currently in a design program and studying typefaces in a Typography design class. If anyone else has relative information factual or fictional, please post a link or share indeed.

and if BOJEV is still out there pleeease contact me ( so I can possibly get the scan of Carol you have with the vertical Trajan alphabet. Trajan is the particular font Im studying and that scan would prove amazing for my poster design ideas.


SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Damm you!!!!!

Mikey ;O)

hrant's picture

Just to be crystal:
1) I don't necessarily believe every word of that.
2) I'm not claiming one is better; I'd simply like to see
more people acknowledge -and even relish- differences.

Equality is death.


John Hudson's picture

Wow, the thread that wouldn't die gets yet more surreal.

The thing that tends to get overlooked when scientists discover a natural cause for a particular sexual attraction or predilection, as with observation of the occurrence of various kinds of sexual activity among other species, is that natural cause doesn't imply anything about morality. There's a romantic tendency to assume that everything that is 'natural' is morally good or at least morally neutral, which misses the point that morality can only be connected to nature via metaphysics, e.g. through a theology of creation; without such a metaphysics, morality is confined to the human social realm. The fact that some people appear to be genetically predisposed to be attracted to the same sex doesn't imply that sex between people of the same sex is moral, any more than the fact that very large numbers of men are apparently genetically disposed to be attracted to dozens women in the course of the average day (presuming they live in a sufficiently large urban evironment) doesn't imply that promiscuity is moral. Nor does the fact that homosexual behaviour is observable among other species mean that it is morally neutral: gang rape and necrophilia are also observed among other species. Which is not to equate these things, only to point out the fallaciousness of making moral arguments from nature.

hrant's picture

You remind me of a cartoon I saw in my college paper in the previous century where during a fair the Gay & Lesbian Club attacks the Necrophilia Club for being immoral and disgusting. However this, sadly, is not a cartoon.


marybethmudgettodnnell's picture

Hello All.

I was looking for Carol, too.
Carol and I atteneded the same High School
and many of the same Art classes.
I think of her often and her nick name for me....."fung"

If anyone knows where I might reach her,
please email me at

Mary Beth (Mudgett) ODonnell
I hope to get back here soon, but if anyone would like to email me, or her,
that would be so appreciated,

Thanks so much,
Mary Beth Mudgett ODonnell

Thomas Phinney's picture

I've sent your note/info to Carol. I hope you are able to reconnect!



SuperUltraFabulous's picture

It would be nice if Carol would pop in Typophile every once and while. Her lauded Chaparral is still such a hot topic.

:-) Mike

Thomas Phinney's picture

Carol is even more reclusive and private than Robert Slimbach (which is saying something), and has moved on to other crafts, so I think the odds of that are, mmm... about zero. A shame, but there you have it.



SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Thanks Thomas for the info.

Mike :-)

marybethmudgettodnnell's picture


I have been hoping to reach Carol, a Classmate from High School.
I am registered here and have a post with some contact info,
but I am unable to get to it. If anyone knows where Carol Twombley is,
and is in touch with her, her old friend Mary Beth ( Fung)
is just wanting to say hi.
Thank you,
Mary Beth

marybethmudgettodnnell's picture

My interest is different in that I just want o say hi to an old classmate.


Christopher Slye's picture

Hi Mary Beth. I'll forward your message to Carol.

toad42's picture

Hannah Arendt (, despite her disavowal of the term, was nevertheless one of the greatest twentieth-century philosophers. Thanks to her work in Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, she was a household name for a while, but even better is her work in Between Past and Future: Six Exercises in Political Thought and in The Human Condition. A few samples:

"But it could be that we, who are earthbound creatures and have begun to act as though we were dwellers of the universe, will forever be unable to understand, that is, to think and speak about the things which nevertheless we are able to do."

"Modern politics is at war with truth."

“The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill conviction but to destroy the capacity to form any.”

“It is as though mankind had divided itself between those who believe in human omnipotence (who think that everything is possible if one knows how to organize masses for it) and those for whom powerlessness has become the major experience of their lives.”

. . . just to do my part in aiding and abetting the thread that would not die . . .

hrant's picture

Awesome stuff. Never heard of her (my point).


.00's picture

I think it is safe to say that, "Carol can't help."

toad42's picture

Point taken.

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