Bob Trogman’s career was founded on the premise that typography was to be his life’s work. His training began in 1942 when he acquired an apprenticeship in the composing room of a letterpress printing plant. The feel and the power of type consumed him and he was eager to learn all the facets of typography.
While attending high school Bob took advantage of the WWII labor shortage and concurrently took composition classes at Frank Wiggins Trade School, a Los Angeles source for vocational training in the printing field. He spent several summers in the Linotype and hand composition departments following the completion of the courses Bob majored in printing and worked on the high school’s daily paper.
The first opportunity to get into graphic design was as an apprentice at the Los Angeles City College Press under the direction of Richard J. Hoffman. He was assigned design projects as well as learning the mechanical skills of typesetting and presswork. All this at the age of 16. His association with Richard Hoffman spanned over 50 years. Meanwhile I had a chance to work at Los Angeles Type casting type. I believe I was one of the first one’s to cast Times Roman in this country.
While attending high school Bob had a letterpress hobby shop. Realizing that a higher education was important, he enrolled at the University of California, Santa Barbara College and earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts education. During the college years Bob was employed at the Channel Lithograph, the first litho plant in the area.
After a brief stint in the Army, Bob took the exam for a teaching position in the Los Angeles City School District. After three years of teaching on the high school level he opened a printing design and production business. Richard Hoffman asked Bob to teach some of the upper division design courses. At that time, the business turned to a typographic production company that had the following clients: Douglas Aircraft Co., Aerospace Corporation, Planning Research, RCA, CBS Television, NBC Television, Thiokol Chemical, A&M Records, Capitol Records, Cathedral Films, Charles Eames, Herb Rosenthal and Saul Bass and Associates. His secret clearance with the Army allowed him to do graphic presentations for projects such as the Minute Man Missile Programs and the Apollo (LEM) human element project.
During the operation of Creative Type he developed fonts for photolettering and became a source for thousands of fonts under the names of FotoStar International and Facsimile fonts. Facsimile Fonts were produced under license with Berthold Fototype, D. Stempel GmbH, Lettergeiterij Amsterdam, and Mecanorma. The producing of the FotoStar layout and design machine was built and marketed on a world-wide basis. Today, the Facsimile Fonts collection has been digitized by many people and Facsimile Fonts appeared on the market with pseudo names.
The advent of the Mac computer put an end to the photolettering process and an international company. The collapse of the product led Bob to transition to a full graphic design business. The emphasis on logos and interior signage became Bob’s foremost product. During a period of more than ten years Bob wrote for various trade publications under that name of Dr. Type.
The process of retiring loomed in the immediate distance and Bob moved to Palm Springs, California. He still has time for doing graphic design work and writing for graphic design publications. The creation of type design never diminished and the tools of his font creation became Fontographer and TypeTool.
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