Here are some more bits from Vernon’s memorial on Sept 11. Chris, his best friend, read the bio. Stick around for the slide show afterward. It’s full of love.
How does this sound?
Vernon Paul Adams was born to Joan and Keith Adams in 1967. They lived in Bournemouth, a seaside town in southern England. His older sister Vanessa couldn’t wait to start changing his nappies.
He was artistic from a young age and ended up going through Art College in England. Shortly after he would head off to Bergen, Norway to continue his study of painting.
He met his first wife Synnove in Oslo, Norway. They pursued their artistic careers in Norway and Germany and eventually moved back to England where his beloved son Maki was born in 2001.
Synnove and Vernon separated, but Vernon’s heart was with his son Maki who had moved back to Norway with his mother.
During this time Vernon met Allison who was living in California. They fell in love and were married. Allie moved to England so they could stay closer to Maki.
Vernon spent the first year of their marriage in an intensive Master’s Degree program at the University of Reading for Type Face design, a very small field at the time.
When Maki was seven years old, he made the decision to live with his dad full time.
Vernon paid the bills working as an antique furniture restorer…teaching ex-addicts marketable skills. He spent his free time working on Type Design.
In 2010, Vernon and Allie had their beautiful daughter Justine. Around this time Vernon also began making royalty free or libre fonts which I’ll talk more about in a bit.
In 2013 Vernon and his family moved to San Clemente, California. Vernon was an avid cyclist and he loved the smooth roads. He also loved the warmth of the people here. The community here was a good place for him to be himself.
Vernon partnered up on an office space with the illustrious designer Jen Hubbard. They shared a space downtown where Jen would spend her days doing graphic design and Vern would tweak every letter in the alphabet to his liking. I was lucky enough to spend quite a few days in that little office with them and I can describe that time to you in four words. Coffee. Lemon Drops and Laughter.
Vernon once told me that a font is sort of like the clothes on a letter. It gives the alphabet style and purpose. He believed that if you gave away fonts for free that there were enough generous people in the world to support a designer doing custom work to those fonts.
His fonts began to gain popularity and as of today Vernon’s fonts are some of the most widely used fonts in the world. To give you a brief example of how many times his fonts have been I’m going to read you something that Jen wrote.
“When you look into the sky tonight, I want you to consider the Milky Way Galaxy. It has been estimated that it contains 100 — billion — stars. That large of number is hard to fathom, isn’t it? But with that in mind, consider that since the moment Vernon’s type designs were added to the Google Fonts library, they have been requested from websites around the world — from businesses building a brand to bloggers sharing their heart like Allison — over 700 billion times. That’s well over 7 times the number of stars in our galaxy. It’s more than impressive, it is astounding.”
When you have time later today, go to SansOxygen.com. There is a banner on the website that will take you to the Google font libray and show you Vernon’s fonts.
Vernon loved tinkering with things, and restored a vintage 1977 Vespa, which he rode short distances around town. He was riding this Vespa when he sustained major injuries after colliding with a truck on May 23, 2014.
He survived for over two more years with a massive brain injury and kidney failure, and finally succumbed to complications around his kidneys on August 24, 2016, survived by his wife and two children, who knew completely that he had loved them well…as well as a legacy of original fonts that are used everyday be people all over the world.
Of course you can’t capture the enormity of a man in a short biography. I can tell you the basics about where he spent his life and how he spent some of his time. I can tell you he was humble and unassuming. I can tell you that he was a bit mischievous and that he was very talented. But it’s difficult to capture the intangible qualities.
Vernon was one of the good guys. He knew that his heart was more important than his head. He was a thinker and a poet. We was an artist and a type technician. He was a husband and a partner. He was a father and a daddy. He taught me a lot before the accident but he’s taught me even more over the last 2 years. Vernon, thank you for teaching me about free-ness. Your struggle has taught me move about God than any sunday sermon. Thank you for leaving us with such amazing kids. We are all better people as a result of your life and the way you lived it.
And as an extra, the band sure played their hearts out for a mean Amazing Grace for their friend.