Trappist monk who inspired Apple’s fonts dead at 83

“The man who inspired Steve Jobs to bring multiple typographic styles to the Mac, the Trappist monk and calligrapher Rev. Robert Palladino, died late last month at the age of 83,” Tim Hardwick reports for MacRumors.

“Palladino taught calligraphy classes at Portland’s Reed College, which Jobs attended during his dropout year,” Hardwick reports. “Yesterday The Washington Post published a retrospective highlighting the development of Palladino’s art, the encounter between the two men, and the continuing influence Palladino’s calligraphy had on Jobs’ aesthetic vision.”

Hardwick reports, “Palladino never owned, or even once used, a computer, but recalled Jobs as being ‘as nice a guy as you could meet,'” in a 2011 Hollywood Reporter interview.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs was the Godfather of Fonts.

Read more: What a Calligrapher Priest Taught Steve Jobs

R.I.P. Father Palladino.

I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. — Steve Jobs, Stanford University Commencement Address, June 12, 2005

8 Comments

  1. Miss Steve. Wish he was still here Today.

    “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

  2. Steve Jobs was not the godfather of fonts. He mnade them popular for computer nerds.

    Typography has been around since before you were a twinkle in your father and mother’s eyes.

  3. The occasion of dying ought to bring about celebrations of life. Was it the Internet, or just the general decay of morals, that changed this ancient social structure into just another peanut gallery of snivellers and grave pissers? In 1880, or even 1980, you showed up at the gravesite to pay your respects, or you stayed away. Nowadays everybody acts like a party crasher, or blogger using death to make some kind of really important point, at the expense of the person gasping with grief..

    I remember Steve Jobs dying and the Internet reverberating with both grief and seething vitriol. The sensitivity was understandable, the hate was incomprehensible. It wasn’t about anonymity, but about distance. Stand next to me at a funeral for my friend and say those things to my face. You won’t do it. The internet breeds a vicious form of cowardice that turns everyday life into a social minefield.

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