After a decade, our annual Favorite Fonts list is back. In addition to a top-ten of favorite typefaces, there are now another 50 typefaces in the Honorable Mentions list. There’s also a section devoted to my favorite glyphs or characters from fonts released in 2020, and a few words about the magical selection process. Oh, and there’s even a typographic Space Invaders Easter egg! The list is back!
For more than a thousand years the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphs was completely lost. For centuries, many assumed that they were magical symbols that might never be understood by mere mortals. The breakthrough only came with the discovery of a 2,200-year-old black basalt slab. But what does that have to do with typography, dragons and unicorns? Read on to find out.
Tens of millions of broadsides were printed from the very earliest days of printing. Many were cheap and ephemeral, eventually being recycled or ending up in the trash. Others, like rebus and puzzle broadsides were novel and engaging enough to live longer lives. This is my very brief look at some early examples of these curious so-called hieroglyphic broadsides.
The Industrial Revolution mechanized printing and reduced costs, leading to explosive growth in publishing. At the same time, an unprecedented increase in literacy produced millions of new readers and sparked a reading revolution. But what were these new readers to read? One of the century’s most popular genres, sold on the streets of Victorian England, was the penny dreadful. Cheap, entertaining and extraordinarily popular. This is their story.
News has been around as long as humans have. From word of mouth to handwritten newsletters to printed newspapers in the early 1600s, the news has always captivated us. It has evolved from an expensive and bespoke service for an elite few into a major part of today’s mass media.
By the sixteenth century, printmaking — or art prints — had become a burgeoning industry in Europe. Millions were printed and many thousands have survived until the present day. Their significance goes well beyond their value as art or artifact, revealing a great deal more than artists’ talents and virtuosity. A closer look at their subject matter and iconography reveals much about the motives of those who collaborated to publish them, sometimes making them as much propaganda as art.
A brief history of the drop-cap: Decorated or illuminated initials were an important part of medieval manuscripts for a thousand years. From luxurious gold and silver letters to plain drop capitals, they functioned to illustrate, commentate, and adorn the text. Learn their history and purpose, why they eventually went out of fashion, and what replaced them.
The modern poster first appeared in France in the 19th century, but its antecedents can be found in Renaissance printmaking. Woodcut, engraving, etching, and drypoint were techniques used by the likes of Albrecht Dürer, Hieronymus Bosch, and Raphael, while printmaking publishers, like Hieronymus Cock, helped popularize the standalone art print and turn it into a thriving industry.
The remarkable story of early African American print culture; its authors, editors, journalists, printers, and publishers. From protest pamphlets to the first Black newspapers, periodicals and books.
From around the beginning of the 1600s, there was a renewed interest in calligraphy. At the same time, women, known as writing mistresses, begin to teach handwriting and calligraphy to young women. Maria Strick in the Netherlands and Marie Pavie, perhaps from France, are the first two women to have their calligraphy copybooks published in print.