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History of Typography

From Jacci Howard Bear

Pursuit of knowledge of the history of typography has applications in all current fields of graphic design and desktop publishing. Understanding how typefaces evolved and the people who made it happen can enhance our understanding of how to use type appropriately and how to choose the right typefaces for a design project. The history of typography is also useful in the event that a designer encounters older technologies in their work.

Explore the history of typography and the evolution of digital type. Learn the meaning behind certain typographic characters and how the use of type has grown and changed.
  1. Famous Type Designers (53)

The Gutenberg Bible, a Revolution in Printing (& Typography)
The history of its printing and later (much later) digitization is also a part of the history of typography.

Spencerian Script Handwriting
Typefaces in the Spencerian style or based on a handwriting style that was popular in the late 1800s in the US.

Serif Typeface Classifications
There are many ways to classify serif typefaces but history groups them into four basic groups: old style, transitional, modern, and slab. Explore the origins, subcategories, and identifying features of each.

In Others Words: Typography Quotations
Those that use type, talk about type and typography in general.

Styles of Blackletter
The Gutenberg Bible was set in a Blackletter font but it's history predates the printing press. Explore the typographic history and forms of this still popular typeface.

The Many Faces of St. Patrick's Day Fonts
St. Patrick's Day in a discussion of the history of typography? Why, yes. Although there's a holiday theme to the article you'll find a breakdown of the history of some historical letterforms including Uncial, Insular Script, and Carolingian.

@ - A Sign of the Times
The "cinnamon bun, " "petit escargot," and " "cat's tail" (miau), are but a few of the names used around the world for the @ symbol. More than just part of an email address, read about the typographic history of this now commonplace symbol in The Terminal.

A Brief History of Typography
A few paragraphs outline this history of type very briefly.

What's the Difference Between Times Roman and Times New Roman?
This reprint of a Usenet post by Charles Bigelow explains the Times New Roman typeface.

The World of Fonts
Dmitry Kirsanov offers his own unique (and excellent) view of typography -- outlining both the history of typefaces and the practical matter of choosing and using type effectively.

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