Vernon Adams, Typographer

posted August 29th, 2016 by

Last week our son-in-law Vernon died. It was after a two year and three month struggle following a motor scooter accident from which he never recovered. I described it last week in my other (writing) blog, Blank Slate. It was two days after that posting that he passed, his wife Allison by his side. I mention it here because many of you have known about all this, either by my mentioning, or being aware of Allison’s famous blogs documenting it. That long processing has in fact made the final outcome somehow more gentle, more ready to face. The name of her blog is Sans Oxygen. I recommend it to you.

But here I want to take a moment to introduce you to the late Vernon Adams as typographer. This is an art-focused blog and typography is an art.

DayOne-cropped

The irony is that Vernon was more of a fixer than a rider. He was good with his hands, and mind, at many things.

Vernon came into our lives a little over a decade ago. He and Allison met online through friends with mutual interests. The complication was that Vernon lived in England. How they overcame all that and married is an interesting story but not my focus here. They lived for the first several years of their marriage in England where Vernon pursued a master’s degree in typographical design at the University of Redding. Eventually they moved to America (San Clemente) as he found his way in the world of new type design and production. In fact, his business name was NewTypography.

As a freelancer, his main client was Google. His unique (and influencing) passion was “free typography,” making new fonts that anyone could download and use.

For the complete listing of his Google fonts (and access for use) go here.

GF-1

GF-2

GF-3

GF-4

GF-5

Fonts-6

GF-7

Here are 51 fonts.
Each was designed and produced by Vernon. A number of others were left unfinished, now being completed by other designers.

If you click around on the link you’ll see examples of all the letters, the rest of the font families (italic, bold, light, etc., etc.) as well as options to download.

You’ll be amused at the cleverness of sentences and paragraphs supplied to illustrate the fonts. To me they could all be the first lines of very intriguing short stories or novels. For the font named Oswald, for example, “My two natures had memory in common,” sounds like a great beginning for something.

Speaking of Oswald, it’s a typeface that’s seen millions of downloads and become one of the most popular Google fonts on the net. The same goes for Oxygen and a number of others. And Vernon was just getting going.

This video was just recently discovered. Vernon himself enjoyed watching it in his last weeks.

Take a few minutes to check him out holding forth at a conference of fellow type designers in Madrid (something he also did in Istanbul and San Francisco). You need not watch it all, but just a taste will give you an idea of the person, what he had to offer, and how he offered it.

Vernon was a different kind of artist. As both of us had beginnings as graphic designers, an appreciation for typography was one of the things we had in common (besides a love for Allison). We talked sometimes about Eric Gill, a type designer/philosopher of an earlier generation. A quote of his I’ve often used is: “An artist is not a different kind of person; every person is a different kind of artist.” I love that.

 

Today, as I write, Allison (with her mother) is picking up his ashes. His spirit, meantime, is with God.

And his memory, with us.

15 comments

  • 1 Paul Carden Aug 29, 2016
    12:17 pm

    He did terrific work. Thanks for making so much accessible to us through this post. Looking forward to watching the video.

  • 2 Lisa Carden Aug 29, 2016
    1:35 pm

    I LOVE that Eric Gill quote! Maybe a good writing prompt for my students.

  • 3 Doris A MacDonald Aug 29, 2016
    2:25 pm

    Thank you for introducing us to your son-in-law. I’m sad that his light has gone out here on earth, but know that he has joined the brilliance of eternity with God. Praying for you and Allison and the family in the midst of grief…. praying that peace and comfort will come and surround you all.

  • 4 Diane Nystrom Aug 29, 2016
    4:27 pm

    So sorry for the loss to your family. Glad to know where he is. What an interesting talent he had! Praying for your family.

  • 5 Barbara Mitchiner Aug 29, 2016
    5:35 pm

    Hi Hyatt,
    So glad you did all the work to present Vernon to everyone!
    It was an honor for me to sit with him each week, & a joy
    to get to know him! He had sooo much love for Allison
    and his children!
    May God wrap His arms around your whole family!!!!
    Hugs,
    Barbara Mitchiner

  • 6 Brenda Crary Aug 29, 2016
    6:04 pm

    Hyatt, thank you for sharing who Vernon was and the incredible talent he possessed. I have heard and read about his struggles since the accident but had no idea of the man he was.

    It has been a long road for all of you and my prayer is that your family can feel peace in his passing, knowing that all that could be done has been done by his devoted wife and loving family. God bless, Brenda

  • 7 Twila Farmer Aug 29, 2016
    7:04 pm

    I was familiar with some of Vernon’s fonts and had used a few on graphic design projects before I had any idea who he was. I had never given a thought to the artist behind them until I began reading Allison’s blog. She made Vernon known and respected to so many who would never have known him otherwise, and we are all the better for it. Sure wish I could have met him.

  • 8 Cheryl Aug 29, 2016
    9:04 pm

    Beautiful. Honoring. Praying for comfort and peace. Looking forward to the day when we will all be in His presence.

  • 9 Barbara Daniel Aug 29, 2016
    9:44 pm

    Hyatt, Anne and love ones. So very sorry for your loss. I have followed Allison’s story for some time. It makes me hold my love one even closer. You and yours have been in my prayers for some time and will continue.

  • 10 Becky Jones Aug 30, 2016
    12:03 am

    Hyatt,
    We never met Vernon but he was a great man and father. His fonts are so good.
    I have followed Allison during the past 2 year 3 month journey and she is a special person. To go back and forth in Orange County like she has has been a job for her to get there and pick up the little one and take care of Maki.
    Our prayers have been with all of the family during this journey.
    Becky

  • 11 Monique Newman Aug 30, 2016
    9:33 am

    Hyatt, your family has been in my thoughts and your names have all been brought to the Master as you walk this journey through the valley of shadow of death and beyond…Vernon now journeying in wholeness beyond these shadows and you continuing the earthly journey until the reunion ahead. Allison’s blog has been a visceral window into her journey and I appreciate so much what your family has shared, transparently and with beauty.

    After watching some of Vernon’s video (as a calligrapher, I’m fascinated by the art of written words!) and then checked the Hottest Fonts Today on font-face’s site and saw Oswald was up in the top 10 with a few others designed by him.

    Grieving the loss of an extraordinary life is the cost for the joy of loving. May the Master who experienced grief at the grave of a beloved friend Lazarus be a gentle yet strong comfort to your hearts at this time of farewell to Vernon. Psalm 34:18

  • 12 Mabel Pittman Aug 30, 2016
    11:16 am

    Oh Hyatt,
    The way the Lord intervenes, answering prayer, and giving insight to His delightful timing and creativity! What a privilege to be part of the prayer warriors on Vernon’s behalf these two years……will continue the “warrior thing” rejoicing in the Lord’s greatness.

  • 13 sue Aug 31, 2016
    1:18 pm

    So good to get the artist side of things, Hyatt. Posting this on my blog tomorrow. See you soon. Love to all.

  • […] understand the talent of Vernon, enjoy his father-in-law’s take on it – a fellow […]

  • […] Is it because the person’s work is finished? History is full of people of genius cut off way before it should have happened. Vincent Van Gogh was just getting going; so was Raphael (both died at 37). How about Abraham Lincoln? As it happened, Vernon left a lot more, occupationally-speaking, than any of us knew at the time. (For more see my blog on that.) […]