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When I First Asked, “What’s This Font?”

by Allan Haley

My first job in the typographic arts was working for a guy named Bob Trogman. He owned a typesetting service in the late 1960s – yes, that was long ago.

I was working as a graphic designer in firm that manufactured airplane instrument panels while I attended art school. A specification from one of the firms’ clients was that their panels use the “Gorton™ Normal” typeface for all text and numbers. I’d never heard of the typeface, and began calling printing houses and typesetting studios inquiring after the design.

No one had heard of the typeface, let alone had fonts to set the copy I needed. (Back in the day, graphic designers didn’t set their own type.)

The name “Bob Trogman” kept coming up in my search. People would say, “I’ve never heard of Gorton Normal but, if anyone knows about it, Bob Trogman does.” After a few of these responses, I changed my search to find Mr. Trogman. (I was a slow learner.) I eventually found him and, yes, he knew all about Gorton Normal – and said that he would be happy to set the type I needed.

About two weeks later, I quit my job as an airplane instrument panel designer and went to work for Trogman as an apprentice typographer – even though his shop was over 40 miles away through L.A. traffic.

Bob and I parted ways many years ago, but I would always fondly remember my first type job when his name came up in a conversation.

The reason for this post is that, out of the blue, Bob just sent me a couple of short “type movies” he had made. They’re both fun and informative and I though I’d share them with you. If you want to know more about Bob Trogman, a visit to his Web site is worth the trip.

The Gorton Normal typeface? It was owned and developed by the Gorton Machine Company, a firm that made engraving machines – that were sometimes used in the manufacture of airplane instrument panels.

Dingbats (MOV)

Making Type Speak (MOV)

Type Is Magical (MOV)

Note from blog administrator: These downloadable movies are in MOV format and should play on Macintosh® computers without any additional software, however other users may require additional software such as QuickTime® or VLC media player. We provide these links as a courtesy and not as any form of endorsement. Depending on your chosen operating system there may be other media players that provide the necessary MOV support.

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.


3 Responses to “When I First Asked, “What’s This Font?””

  1. jlrsn says:

    The links don’t work.

  2. admin admin says:

    Apologies, links (for MOVs) have been updated and should now function correctly. Thanks for the note.

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