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Lecture 8: History of Type

The decision one makes about typeface and colour can dramatically later the message that is being communicated

Gill Sans, a classic english sans serif typeface, used for railways and signage across the country, communicates a different message than if times new roman typeface was used

Certain typeface resonates with history and the historical attributes of the country in which it was designed

How you present what is being communicated is as important as the content being communicated

Typography is the intersection between verbal and visual communication

Typography is a visual tool that adds verbal communication

Typography consists of three main criteria, meta communication, paralinguistic and kinesics

Meta communication - is a language used to comment on another language, for example typefaces speak in different voices, they change the language and meaning of what is being communicated

Paralinguistic - is a language that structures another language, create speed and pace within the language

Kinesics - Gestures that are employed alongside words which emphasize or change the message being communicated, typography does this - The typeface can be a kinesic act, for example using capitals is a learnt behavior that when used is meant to symbolise someone shouting, Kinesics can also change the way a message is received

There are six main type classifications, although these are debatable among typographers, they are also feature many sub classifications and further classifications with these

Typefaces were first introduced with the invention of the Gutenberg press in 1450, the press was the first form of moveable type which also for the mass production of printed media, prior to this the only form of written communication were by hand writing books and scripts

The introduction of this invention changed the world, before this nothing happened within the world and this period was known as the dark ages, no one was educated and the world did not moved forward, monks we’re the only people who kept knowledge going within there closed communities

Typography and the letterpress saved our world from the dark ages

The alphabet used within typeface of the letterpress was created from roman culture, the capital letters still present within our alphabet today came from roman culture featured on Trajan’s column, the lowercase set of letters within our alphabet come from the scripts written by monks

Gothic Script was the first form of moveable type created for the Gutenberg printing press, these typefaces were modeled on medieval type, however these were hard to read

Black letter was then created as the first typeface designed for printing, this was then soon superseded by humanist typefaces

Nicholas Jenson created the typeface called ‘Jenson’ the typeface was considerably more modern and significantly easier to read, this typeface still looked at human hand writing for its basis and inspiration, Jenson was attempting to modernize the typefaces of that period

Humanist typefaces reflect human handwriting and human philosophy

‘E’ can be used to recognize humanist typeface by the slanting of the e

Within 50 years type, typefaces and typography comes into a form and practice of it’s own

The first font family is developed called ‘Old Style’

More fonts then began to emerge, such as Garamond

Differences in spacing began to appear within typefaces which helped make them easier to read

Typography starts to become an art form, then art begins to be thought of outside of human handwriting

Fonts that are referred to as Roman because of how they are created and there influences during their creation

Enlightenment the shift in world moving from religion for knowledge towards and science and maths is also reflected in Typography, typefaces are now designed around scientific and mathematical theory (around 1963 this began)

Type now begins to be made using order and rules for its creation, the typefaces created during this period are referred to as transitional fonts

Fonts made during this era focus less on human handwriting and more on readability, simplicity

William Caslon begins to create letter forms are unique and separate from the forms creating in handwriting

In 1776, the deceleration had a new typeface created for the document to demonstrate a new world independence with a new font

Within these new typefaces being create the stroke contrast becomes more apparent, with increases the readability of the font, however this was met with a backlash of people suggesting this contrast is becoming to be big and thin strokes ‘will blind people’ when they read these new typefaces

Typefaces became easier and more accurately created with the invention of modern type through the movements of modernity

Modern typefaces are known as Didones

Bondoni is the most famous of these modern typefaces with characteristics such as high contrasts in stroke weight, abrupt serif and logically ordered

Didones were created at the start of modernity

Didones represent elegance, style and high end class and glamour

Slab serif fonts or fonts sometime refereed to as Egyptian fonts were a direct product and result of industrialization and urbanism, they were designed to be bold and stand out and scream at the audience through the hustle and bustle of modern urban society, these fonts were not sophisticated at all

Fat face fonts echo the style of slab serif fonts but were designed for use within print production

Typewriters also had there own version of slab serif typefaces, most iconically used within the I heart New york image

Sans serif fonts first became introduced within the late 1800’s, although sans serif fonts became extremely popular later when the first sans serif font was created in 1896 it was not recognized as a significant move forward within typography

Grotesk typefaces are a variant of sans serif typeface, they are extremely stripped back to simply communication and are anti decoration

These fonts are anti-historical, many were also unicameral, which means they are made of lowercase letterform and uppercase letters forms are not require and only confuse the information being communicated

English typographers also began to embrace this modernist movement with these creation of Gill Sans in 1926

This wave of modernism began to sweep europe however traditionalist were still creating typefaces such as the creation of Times New Roman 1932, which focused on looking backwards rather than forward thinking like the ideology of modernism, Stanley morris the creator of Times New Roman, maybe seen as a post modernist as he created the font as a reaction to modernism

However Nazi at this time were also looking back for inspiration for their typeface, they looked back to the early black letter typefaces

The most famous typeface in the world Helvetica, created in 1957 is a swiss style typeface, it has grown to become one of the most dominant fonts within the world and is now used everywhere

It is most commonly used within the corporate world because of it simplistic qualities

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