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Tag: feature

Penny Dreadfuls & Murder 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.

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Black Print

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.

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Death of a Typeface

Robert Granjon (1513–90) was a French type designer who, in 1557, invented a new style of typeface that was modeled on contemporary handwriting. It later came to be know as Civilité, after the civilité or etiquette books which the typeface often appeared in. Although Granjon wished for his Civilité to become the national typeface of France, it never really caught on, and it never seriously competed with Roman and Italic fonts.

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Road-trips & the Invention of Print

We don’t know for sure what prompted Hans Gensfleisch to leave his hometown of Mainz in western Germany for Strasbourg in the south but leave he did, probably in the early 1430s. Founded in the first century BC by the Romans, under emperor Augustus, Mainz had for a time, after the construction of its cathedral […]

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The First Roman Fonts

The Renaissance affected change in every sphere of life, but perhaps one of its most enduring legacies are the letterforms it bequeathed to us. But their heritage reaches far beyond the Italian Renaissance to antiquity. In ancient Rome, the Republican and Imperial capitals were joined by rustic capitals, square capitals (Imperial Roman capitals written with […]

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Printing the Stars

For tens of thousands of years, humans have looked up at the night sky in awe, intrigued by the motion, manner, and nature of the stars. And with our propensity for pattern recognition and our proclivity for causal inference, or attributing meaning or significance to coincidence, we joined the dots, so to speak, perceiving in […]

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The Last Word on Helvetica?

Perhaps this article should have ended at the question mark in its title. And by the end of it, you may well concur. However, in the meantime, and before I get started — and I promise this won’t take long — let me be clear, I am not, I repeat, not (in bold for emphasis) a Helvetica hater.

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A Firm Turn Toward the Objective: Josef Müller-Brockmann 1948–1981

In February of 1989, I had the pleasure of meeting Josef Müller-Brockmann. I was a young, wide-eyed student of 21 years studying at Arizona State University. With great fortune, a professor of mine had heard that Müller-Brockmann was going to be in the country and asked him to add a stop in Tempe, Arizona. The […]

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Beauty and Ugliness in Type Design

Peter Biľak on the process of designing his newly released Karloff typeface, demonstrating just how closely related beauty and ugliness are. Karloff explores the idea of irreconcilable differences — how two extremes could be combined into a coherent whole.

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The design of a signage typeface

The story begins in 2006 with a trip down Route 66. Day in, day out, I looked at U.S. traffic signs that were either set in the old, somewhat clumsy “FHWA font series” or the new Clearview HWY typeface. Approaching the signs, I would often test myself: which typeface works best from a distance, and […]

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