The last sentence of this section feels incongruous, however: “Twombly is wary of her story arousing any renewed notoriety or unwanted personal attention. She fiercely values her privacy and for that reason she asks those interested to please accept that all she wishes to say about her career is in these pages.”
My reaction was, “whoa! This sounds like trauma! Here we were, jauntily breezing through type history’s ladies in this really positive way and now we have this seemingly disconnected statement. Okay. Welp! Let’s respect that! I hope the book explains why!”
It doesn’t. And that’s not a criticism of the book; the prose barely even hints at the impropriety such a statement suggests. So we are back to the last point on the checklist, that Twombly managed to build a formidable career despite what I imagine to be a flinching, birdlike fragility that many good people protected in order for her to be able to work.
The book features extensive quotes from Twombly, which is satisfying given her wishes to stay out of conversations about herself. In them she is always careful to note those good people who fostered her education and development in type design. In one section about the recognitions she’s received, she takes the opportunity to highlight the many women whose work inspired her and those who taught her the technical aspects she needed to learn. It is notable that she used this space to give them that recognition.
Twombly also has warm words to say about the co-founders of Adobe, where she worked for a decade in the type design department. Here was where her most notable typefaces were drawn, produced and sold, evidently earning her enough money (she invested her royalties well) to leave her career most of us would consider prematurely.