“Digital Typography at Stanford”

"This article investigates the short lived digital typography graduate program formed between Stanford University’s Departments of Art and Computer Science, which began in 1982 and ended in 1988. The program leveraged the design skills of typographer Charles Bigelow with the software mastery of computer scientist and mathematician Donald Knuth. Besides educating graduate students who would go on to create numerous typeface designs for Adobe in Silicon Valley, they collaborated on an applied research project for the American Mathematical Society with eminent typographer Hermann Zapf. Bigelow’s historicist approach to type design aesthetics in the face of cutting-edge technology and postmodern design — both in his teaching and commercial typeface design — and the lack of interaction between the digital typography program and Stanford’s Joint Program in Design (shared between Mechanical Engineering and Art) may have contributed to the demise of digital typography at Stanford University. Still, its influence was wide ranging and impactful."—Steven McCarthy, she ji The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation Vol. 6, No. 4, Winter 2020