Typeface Review

Robinson

Reviewed by James Edmondson on July 5, 2017

The first time I saw the beginning of Robinson was in the fall of 2011. Back then, Dribbble wasn’t filled to the brim with typeface ideas, and I was simply happy to stumble on someone’s work that covered interests similar to my own. Greg Gazdowicz’s sans was quirky and vibrant, but left room for improvement.

Over the next five years, Greg blossomed into an incredible type designer, and took a job at Commercial, furthering the extreme chillness of their illustrious staff. Every once in a while, Greg would show some updates that perhaps seemed subtle on the surface, but that revealed a complete rethinking of underlying architecture upon closer inspection. Greg gained a thorough understanding of the broad-nib pen’s influence on letterforms, a deceptively complex dance of cheating stroke widths and axis rotation to produce the ideal form.

Along the way, Lydian proved to be a useful source of inspiration and historical source material, but rather than simply redraw the outlines, sprinkle in some features, and call it good, G-Money relied on his own taste and good sense to give Robinson steady footing in a contemporary context. While Lydian works well in your mom’s yearbook, Robinson would feel perfectly at home in drone branding, a VR interface, or packaging for a chic brand of medical marijuana.

There are things I would have done differently on Robinson had I designed it. The black weights have a few pockets of negative space that could have been minimized. The lighter weights are tight for my taste, and the cap ‘G’ is a bit condensed, but I will gladly file all those complaints under “Nobody cares.” Robinson is a stellar product that brings an underrepresented genre into the twenty-first century, and tells the story of Greg’s impressive journey from amateur to professional.

In between working on vertical storage home projects and listening to Vulfpeck, James Edmondson spends time designing typefaces. After graduating from California College of the Arts, James received a masters from the TypeMedia program at The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Netherlands. He now runs OH no Type Co., and teaches type design in the MFA department at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and in the Type@Cooper West program.

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