Over the past couple of years I have been researching and writing a book about the fifteenth-century German printer, Erhard Ratdolt. He printed over 200 titles during his career, and part of my work is to study the content and typography of as many of those editions as possible. Recently, while writing a chapter titled, Printing the Heavens — about Ratdolt’s books on astrology and astronomy — I noticed a capital letter Z that had been printed in reverse. I checked the other 120 pages of this book to discover it was the only capital Z in the entire volume.
The very first printers’ mark or printers’ device dates back almost to the very beginning of Western typography. In Mainz, Fust and Schoeffer, employed a printers’ mark in a Bible that they published in 1462. There is an earlier example in their Mainz Psalter of 1457, though many now believe that it was perhaps stamped in at a later date. Either way, Fust and Schoeffer are the first printers to use such a device, a kind of trademark that was employed to guard against piracy and that served as a seal of quality.
Welcome to this month’s roundup of type-related info and entertainment. Today, we fish type out of the Thames, explore printed dance notation, get ready for an intensive type design program in Paris, light a book-scented candle, look into a mid-century ad man’s desk book, gaze adoringly at typographic embroidery, pay tribute to Aldus Manutius, watch a documentary about lettercutting, track down the history of the US dollar sign’s shape, learn about Chinese fonts, and appreciate the The University of Iowa Center for the Book from afar.
“Designing Zapfino Arabic takes everything I ever learned about type design and then some… Have never, ever, worked on anything this challenging.” — Facebook status: Oct. 24, 2013
Welcome to this month’s roundup of type-related info and entertainment. Today, we make Helvetica cookies, tumble for ligatures, uncover a longstanding typesetting mistake by the New York Times, ponder typefaces for cities, get reacquainted with ASCII art, prognosticate about responsive fonts of the future, get to know font designer Carlos Fabián Camargo Guerrero, talk about printed choreographic notation, visit New York City’s typographically rich tiled subway stations, and more.
Most will be familiar with the name Francesco Griffo, born in Bologna in 1450, and forever associated with the Venetian printer-publisher Aldus Manutius for whom he designed and cut roman, Greek, and the first italic fonts. Their partnership was an especially fruitful one and their collaboration at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries has influenced type design ever since. To this day, in Spain, the italic is known as the letra grifa after its namesake.
GT Sectra is a serif typeface combining the calligraphic influence of the broad nib pen with the sharpness of the scalpel. This sharpness defines its contemporary look.
Welcome to this month’s roundup of type-related info and entertainment. Today, we delve into endangered alphabets, examine the best book covers of 2014, revisit Æsop’s fables, ponder automotive text interfaces, salivate over chocolate typography, greet the new Swedish national typeface, lament a famous neon sign, review Chip Kidd teaching kids about graphic design, and much much more.
Sweynheym and Pannartz are credited with introducing printing to Italy via their press at the monastery of Santa Scolastica at Subiaco, outside of Rome in 1465. They appear to have been relatively successful, even sending quite a number of their books to Rome itself. However, in 1467 they move their press to Rome, where by 1473 they were all but out of business. However, in addition to being Italy’s first typographers, they were the first to print a Latin Bible in roman type (ISTC: ib00535000; Type: 2:115R)
Welcome to this month’s roundup of type-related info and entertainment. Today, we dip our toes into some controversial typographic decision making over at Apple; we talk about typography as a societal problem solver (or not); we discuss the evolution of emoji and the invention of the octothorpe; we show you type made out of hands, arms, buildings, lakes, and rivers; we check out Norway’s new passports; we look at Medieval ASCII art; and much more.
St. Catherine, bad feet, & the first italic
Whenever we think about the invention of the italic typeface we invariably think of the year 1501, when the italic type, commissioned by Aldus Manutius and cut by Griffo, was employed to set a new series of small pocket books, first published in 1501.