RIT honors Adobe principal type designer Robert Slimbach

The type designer and calligrapher will be presented this year’s Goudy Award

Distinguished type designer and calligrapher Robert Slimbach is the 2018 recipient of the Frederic W. Goudy Award, given to outstanding practitioners in type design and its related fields. Presented by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Cary Graphic Arts Collection, the award dates back to 1969 and is dedicated to the continued progress of the printing field in the spirit of the great printers of the past.

Slimbach is the principal type designer at Adobe Systems Inc. He has contributed to the design of more than 20 digital typefaces released over the past 35 years, including the bestsellers Adobe Garamond (1989), Adobe Minion (1990), and Poetica (1992). Slimbach’s work draws inspiration from classic historical sources, such as original hand-written manuscripts and rare printed books. He is the recipient of several Type Directors Club Awards for his typeface designs, as well as the 2015 Typography Award from the Society for Typographic Aficionados. In 1991 he was honored with the Prix Charles Peignot, from the Association Typographique Internationale, which commends an individual under the age of 35 for outstanding type design.

“Robert Slimbach’s work as a type designer is a quiet study in virtuosity,” said Amelia Hugill-Fontanel, associate curator of the Cary Collection. “His type designs are the foundation for Adobe’s Originals program, which informed a generation of graphic designers about the value of good letterform design for the digital technology that is ubiquitous today. His typefaces are bundled in Adobe’s software—the industry-standard in design and imaging—so the new wave of current students, especially those at RIT, are using characters designed by Slimbach every day.”

The presentation of the 31st award and the Goudy Distinguished Lecture in Typography will take place at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection on the second floor of the Wallace Library. Slimbach will receive the award in person, and his colleague Dan Rhatigan, the senior manager for Adobe Type, will deliver a lecture about Slimbach’s work titled “Robert Slimbach and the Adobe Originals.” The Cary Collection has also prepared an exhibition with highlights of his work that will be on view in their gallery. The event and reception are free and open to the public.

The Goudy Award and Lecture was established in 1969 by a gift from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. The award pays tribute to the friendship between Melbert B. Cary Jr. and Frederic Goudy, who produced upwards of 123 typefaces and was one of the most widely recognized figures in American printing.

Established at RIT in 1969, the Cary Graphic Arts Collection is one of the country’s premier libraries on graphic communication history and practices. Originally comprised of 2,300 books from the estate of Melbert B. Cary Jr., the collection has expanded into a comprehensive resource on the development of the alphabet and writing systems, early book formats and manuscripts, calligraphy, typefaces and their manufacturing technologies, bookbinding, papermaking, printing and illustration processes, and artists’ books. The Cary Collection also manages the RIT Graphic Design Archive comprised of 45 archives documenting the work of important 20th-century Modernist graphic designers.