History And Evolution Of Typography





History And Evolution Of Typography


Typography is basically the study of types the faces types and the evolution of printed letters another appropriate definition would be defining it as the study of handwriting that offers a unique base for making type designs. Important details about specific people who were involved in the industry have been highlighted they include Garamond, Gutenberg, Divot, Arnold and Giambatttista.One should consider that not only were olden printers just involved in printing only but were also professional typographers as well. The first type was founded by a gentleman known as Claude Garamond a native of France and the type was affordable to printers and used the Griffo roman font. Other experts in the field of establishing types that recorded the books of history included Griffo who established the italic Jenson improved the roman type and Caxton who established a gothic font. Many fonts that are present in our computers have developed gradually from ancient founders of the type existing in the sixteenth and fifteenth centuries.


A classification that has for a very long time enjoyed a lot of advantages classified typefaces into four segments and the grouping was carried out on the bases of letter style rather than chronology. The first one is the typeface nomenclature but most Americans know it as the old style which was developed in the 1600 century with a distinct characteristic of having letter forms having highlighted affinities similar to the penned letter style of the scribes. There was almost no difference between the thin and thick strokes since the stresses were slanted and heavy with serifs being thick and full. The second group was termed as transitional since it had a letter styling consisting of structures existing both in the modern and old face method.

The modern types were established between 1788 to 1820 a period that witnessed a major downfall in type design, their key characteristic developed due to their similarity with an engravers tool rather than the pen. A distinct differences between the thin and thick strokes emerged in the letter where the thins became extremely thin and the change from thick to thin became rapid with also serifs tending to be longer and thinner.The first modern typeface was introduced by Didot Firmin a Frenchman in 1784 by establishing the first printed page.He was later followed by an enthusiastic type designer named Giambatttista Bowdoin who was also a skilled printer and punchcutter with a Didone design having flat unbracketed hairline serifs with small aperture horizontal stress and vertical axis and had ability to establish digital interpretations.The moderns required a lot of space interms of interline space and white space.

One of the biggest names in typography recognized because of his great knowledge in the field of printing was Gutenberg with the ability to typography his own work by engineering a way to cast and cut type to ensure replication of letter forms repeatedly after shape fixing the letter since he was also a publisher risking capital while preparing and selecting material that would be printed for sale while still also designing the layout of each page.

The typographer also dealt with the type which is a letter involved in the activity .There were three key type categories in western printing the black letter that was commonly called Gothic by the Englishmen then the roman or the Antiqua and finally the italic. With the intention of standardizing Charlemagne requested that the Holy Roman empire should be written using the caroline minuscule and roman capitals to achieve uniformity these lead to the growth of the black letter where the strokes were made thicker and the form of the letter thinner with time it evolved into the square text gothic.In 1465 Arnold Pannartz and Konrad sweynheim established the Antiqua which is currently known as the roman and was accepted warmly as the national typeface until its dscontinuation in the year 1940 the italic on the other hand was known as the gothic schwbacher in Italy and was innovated by the chancellery clerks to boost their working speeds.

Gutenberg faced financial problems while trying to print the forty two line Bible since he started experimenting at around 1440 and by 1450 he was ready to put his method out for commercial use but he was financially incapable he therefore had to borrow funds from Fust Johann he later again in 1452 had to do the same and they became partners their productions had no page number no title page and no innovations to differentiate it from the other manuscript copyist but to both Guternberg and his customers their creation was excellent however Guternberg suffered a major blow when Fust broke away from the partnership and transferred the ownership of his company to Peter Schaffer his soon to be son-in-law. Five years later the Catholicon emerged with a tailpiece acknowledging the printer and the environs of printing the design and was more economical in matters of space usage.

The figure below displays the features that are a necessity in a typographic page.

Two aesthetic qualities were considered when dealing with a typographic page the first one being named the sense and depended on aspects such as the block type size its location on the page display letters for subheads, running heads titles and margin size.A competent typographer had the major tips concerning the contents of the page automatically generating its functions seriousness and the particular period it was produced.The second quality involved colour the brightness or darkness of the block type had a diverse variety of meanings. Colour results from letter shapes distances between words letters and lines the inking type was also considered together with the printing mode utilized in making impressions on the paper.The most vital element though was the design that was highly valued even before the invention of books and printing.

This section will deal with printing in Italy which one of the most fascinating studies. When printing spread out in Germany it developed in an admirable manner in Italy where it was nurtured by expert craftsmen from Germany named Pannartz and Sweynheim who were ironically the founders of printing in the same country in 1465 and created the Antiqua type which would soon later be known as roman it acquired a wide range of recognition since it was less tenous compared to the later face and vividly demonstrable. Wedeling and Johann who were both blood brothers and in the year 1469 in Venice established the first press but unfortunately Johann died the next year after enjoying monopoly in printing for one year. They used a legible and clear typeface but their monopoly was short lived since Nicolas Jenson a Frenchman penetrated their strong economic environment after acquiring an advanced skill from Germany and opened a business in Venice he had an excellent roman type form his design had ideas and tips from the Brutus. The production was excellent and full of glamour due to its elegant cutting some admirers describing it as one of the most perfect roman ever cut but he never used the type for legal purposes.

Another significant figure in the field of typography in Venice was Aldus Manutius between 1490 and 1495 offering Greek texts with less typographical excellence but more of editorial authority and had a type cutter and designer known as Francesco Griffo who also made a few significant contributions such as drawing the pre caroline scripts that later knocked out the Jensen version and also cut a type that was to later acquire a lot of credit from book writers known as italic though not the best according to the criticizes of experts and some even gave it the name a slanting roman nevertheless it was the first in a group of new typefaces it took about fifty years for it to acquire a higher rank of a special function type but at around 1540 experiments concerning typefaces were unfortunately ignored.

A more refined and reconstructed style was the baroque style in Italy at around 1600 when the period ended that used motion which was exaggerated and clear contents were interpreted to produce tension exuberance drama and grandeur in music painting literature and sculpture. The masters of Baroque were rather serious when issues of typography and book design art were mentioned they were able to make margins broader made pages even whiter and redefined types. The distinguishing features of the page design in a Baroque were the typographic flourishes and ornate borders.

The printers mark was also included in the Baroque flourishes the picture below indicates a printers mark.

Renaissance boosted art development as Italians acquired full civilization at the peak of renaissance the five cities in Italy Venice Milan Florence Naples and Sicily offered major economic hubs thus art developed by a significant level.

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