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Times New Roman, Adapted from Olden Times

Posted by Kate Reese
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Times New Roman, Adapted from Olden Times

CEOs often credit artistic experiences in youth with inspiration for innovative ideas that later launch their career; Apple founder, Steve Jobs is no exception. After dropping out of school, Jobs got by living on couches, collecting cents for recycled plastic, and oddly enough, practicing his calligraphy. This ancient art form, which he “stumbled upon by following [his] curiosity and ambition," sparked a desire to learn more about typography and different alphabets.

 

At Reed College, while taking classes from priest Father Robert Palladino, Jobs began to investigate the historical beauty of this art form and the ways that calligraphic writing had been a part of technological innovations in the past (Johannes Gutenberg based the Gothic lettering for his printing press on the calligraphy of the Trappist monks). Palladino’s first-hand exposure to this tradition helped to shape Job’s experience with typeface, setting the stage for what would later become Apple’s distinctively appealing user interface.

 

While the connection between the calligraphy of Trappist monks and the iPhone may seem tenuous, Jobs said that if it weren’t for dropping in on these classes, the Mac, and potentially personal computers to follow, would never have featured the decorative embellishments and proportionally spaced fonts that make these devices so appealing to consumers. Steve Jobs' reputation as an innovator is underscored by the thematic connections he was able to draw between his bohemian days as a college drop-out and his tenure as CEO at Apple. While Apple’s many products have certainly increased consumer usage of digital typefaces on screens, it is worth remembering that the creative impetus for such technologies lies in a centuries-old art form, written on scrolls of paper. Read the full story.

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