I Love Typography

The First Female Typographer

In the fifteenth century women had few career opportunities. Few, bar those in the higher social classes were even sent to school, and women were not admitted to universities (Oxford university didn’t permit women to matriculate or graduate until 1920). Their options were very limited and pessimistically and perhaps a little exaggeratedly summed up by […]

The first book printed in Italy

The First Book Printed in Italy During my research for an upcoming book* on the life and work of German Renaissance typographer Erhard Ratdolt, I spent quite some time looking at the introduction of printing to Italy (Ratdolt worked in Venice from 1476 to 1486, thereafter returning to his native Augsburg). The first printers in […]

A compulsive tribute to Giambattista Bodoni

In 2013 to mark the bicentenary of Bodoni’s death, designers Riccardo Olocco and Jonathan Pierini will publish the Parmigiano Typographic System which has the ambition of being the most extended family of fonts ever to have been inspired by the great punchcutter and printer who spent most of his life in Parma. Compulsive Bodoni is the name of the […]

A Pocket Cathedral

There are two different interpretations of the concept of the private press. There is an approach that takes the term in a very wide sense. The hallmark of the private press is that the profit making principle is non-existent. Financial gain is not part of the process. The printer produces a book purely for personal […]

We love your streets

Save our signage Recently, I posted an interview with type designer Verena Gerlach in which she laments the disappearance of shop signage & lettering (sources she’d used to design FF Karbid). Shops change hands, old signs are taken down or painted over and, in the process, numerous examples of wonderful lettering are forever lost. And […]

All sorts of type

The Week in Type The type-obsessive, thoroughly inspiring Andrew Byrom in this TEDxUCLA talk, If h is a chair:

The origins of abc

Where does our alphabet come from? We see it every day on signs, billboards, packaging, in books and magazines; in fact, you are looking at it now — the Latin or Roman alphabet, the world’s most prolific, most widespread abc. Typography is a relatively recent invention, but to unearth the origins of alphabets, we will […]

Creating Grand Gargantua

Incunabula

Marginal Notes A lovely set of photos of books from the Incunabula [1], from the University of Glasgow Library. Note the hand below the marginal notes. Incunabula explained.

The library of the Gutenberg Museum

By Dan Reynolds I. Introduction Large or small, letters seem to inhabit their own universe. Re-arrangeable in any combination, they can spell out all conceivable messages, be they poetic, bureaucratic, or anything in between. But sometimes a text is just about its letters themselves, not an object to be read, but one to be looked […]

Type: A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles

Reviewed by James Puckett I was excited when Taschen announced the first volume of Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, described as “This exuberant selection of typographic fonts and styles traces the modern evolution of the printed letter”*. Such language, including the title, is disingenuous, because this book is not a history. […]

A Brief History of Type—Part 5

Slab Serif / Egyptian Welcome to the early 1800s and the birth of the Slab Serif, otherwise known as Egyptian, Square Serif, Mechanical or Mécanes. What’s with the name Egyptian? Upon Napoleon’s return from a three year Egyptian expedition and publication in 1809 of Description de l’Égypt, Egypt was all the rage, and it appears that type […]

A Brief History of Type

Part Four: Modern (Didone) In the previous installment of this series, we took a closer look at Transitional style typefaces, so-called because they mark a transition from the former Old Style types—epitomized by Baskerville—and the subject of today’s brief history, the Moderns, also known as Didone (the terms Modern and Didone are used synonymously throughout […]

History of typography: Transitional

Part 3: Siècle des Lumières Welcome to part three of our Type Terms series. In part one we travelled all the way back to the 15th century to take a closer look at the Humanist or Venetian style types with their distinctive lowercase ‘e’ (remember that sloping crossbar?). In part two we considered the Old […]

History of typography: Old Style

Griffo to Caslon In the first part of this series, we looked at Humanist typefaces; we considered them in their historical context, and took a closer look at some of their distinguishing features and modern-day revivals. Today we’re moving along the time line and will spend a little time familiarising ourselves with some wonderful Old […]

History of typography: Humanist

Incunabula Every subject, from dentistry to dog handling has its own vocabulary — terms that are peculiar (unique) to it. Typography is no exception. Learning the lingua franca (lingo) of type will make typography that much more accessible; and that will, in turn, lead to greater understanding, and hopefully a greater appreciation for all things […]

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