Carl Crossgrove has been obsessed with letters since he learned to read at the age of two. Born in Mexico, Crossgrove grew up in central Connecticut. He experimented with letters throughout his childhood, drawing chalk alphabets on the driveway and cutting giant letters out of paper.
During his youth, Crossgrove dabbled in fantastic display lettering and was influenced by comic books, album covers and the art nouveau resurgence of the 1970s. As he grew older, Crossgrove discovered classical type and lettering, and his typographic interests deepened. He practiced calligraphy and explored the book arts, ceramics, botanical illustration and painting while still in high school. He concentrated on fine arts in college before his passion for language and printing took over.
Crossgrove chose to further his education at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Before commencing his studies at RIT, he traveled to Boston in the summer of 1990 and met David Berlow, Mike Parker and Matthew Carter. From these luminaries, Crossgrove learned there actually is a type industry and got a behind-the-scenes look at Bitstreams technical operations.
After his Boston visit and a late-summer trip to Oxford, England, for the Type90 conference, Crossgrove landed at RIT. He was immersed in a rich world of typographic culture and printing history, including the school's extensive Cary Graphic Arts Collection. His curriculum at RIT allowed him to experiment with digital type design software while studying fine typography and printing history.
While at RIT, Crossgrove served two internships in Adobe's type department. He also visited European printing museums to study the original drawings of Rudolf Koch, Georg Trump, Oldrich Menhart, Hermann Zapf and other lettering greats.
|Carl Crossgrove in the fall of 2006 (photograph by Zara Evens)|