Oddsorts is the imprint of type designer, teacher, and graphic designer Charles Gibbons. Asked what distinguishes his work, Chuck says that he mates aesthetic craft with technically innovative and user-friendly fonts. Studying with master stone letterers like John Hegnauer at RISD hooked him on the exacting rigors of visual craft. Working with his own students now helps him develop tools for fellow designers. “As a teacher, I see young designers grapple with using fonts, trying to figure out which is suited for what purpose (like we all do) but also how to actually operate the things. That experience reveals the importance of treating fonts like the software they are. Fonts that are easy to use are likely to get used, so I make mine as ‘smart’ as possible. Intuitive character layouts, robust OpenType features that do a lot of the grunt work — maximizing the font’s capabilities saves seasoned designers time and helps casual users look like pros.” Chuck has partnered with such notable type foundries as Bitstream, Filmotype, Sideshow, Tart Workshop, Device, and Cultivated Mind — sometimes in the limelight and sometimes behind the scenes. The Ciao Bella ornaments he designed with Cultivated Mind’s Cindy Kinash represent the first commercially available “auto-chromatic” fonts: each font can be set in two colors. Working with Stuart Sandler and Crystal Kluge at Tart Workshop, he developed the method by which their Aya Script delivers its characteristic curlicue ribbons. His types grace book covers, greeting cards, film titles, museum façades, and even the seal of the United States Copyright Office. They appear in textbooks like Kristin Cullen’s Typography Fundamentals, have been awarded the Type Directors Club Certificate of Typographic Excellence, and even frequent MyFonts’ bestseller lists. Chuck’s personal interest in type stems from a fascination with aspects of visual communication that “lie below meaning”, seeing lettering as a meditation on the place where sound meets silence. That, and letters are just plain cool. Whatever his motive, he’s happy to share his lifelong passion with… well, everyone.
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