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Return to Book Page. The Fundamentals of Typography by Gavin Ambrose ,. Paul Harris. The Fundamentals of Typography offers an overview plus incisive insight into the use of type and stunning examples sure to inspire typographers and designers in the field. A comprehensive introduction to the history of typography, typographic detailing in practice, and font generation for print and the web, this book covers type in the past and the present--and speculates The Fundamentals of Typography offers an overview plus incisive insight into the use of type and stunning examples sure to inspire typographers and designers in the field.
A comprehensive introduction to the history of typography, typographic detailing in practice, and font generation for print and the web, this book covers type in the past and the present--and speculates on the future. Basic principles are explained with detailed presentations, illustrations, case studies, and examples from leading design studios around the world.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Fundamentals of Typography , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Fundamentals of Typography. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 11, Jerin John rated it it was amazing.
Everything you want to know about the type including history, basics, writings, letters, writing styles on many ancient civilizations, typography, typefaces, fonts, letterforms, etc.
A recommended must-read for typography enthusiasts. Jun 23, Rachel Green rated it liked it. Now that I've read this, it's more of a long-term read: meant to be read over a bit of time. Not something that you can easily read through in a matter of days or hours. Also, you'll definitely pay more attention to how type appears after reading this. With this change the cuneiform signs were turned on their sides. Cuneiform began to die out as other language systems such as Aramaic spread through the region in the 7th and 6th centuries BC, and as the use of Phoenician script increased.
The Fundamentals of Typography 14 Cuneiform tablets Above Cuneiform, the earliest known form of writing, on a clay tablet. Right Cuneiform tablet detail. Far right Mesopotamia, modern Syria, is where cuneiform originated. Some terms to be familiar with There are many terms used within this book that youll need to be familiar with, many of which are often confused. Each pictogram represents an object such as an animal, tool or person rather than vocal sounds. In Egypt, they were developed by scribes to record the possessions of the Pharaoh, by drawing a picture of a cow or a boat for example.
As more complex ideas needed to be recorded, written language became more complex as more pictograms were needed. Eventually there were over individual Egyptian pictograms. Hieroglyphs can be written from right to left, left to right, or downwards, which can be discerned by seeing which way pictures of people or animals face. The text is read towards the faces. For example, if they are facing to the left, the inscription is read from left to right.
Fundamentals of Typography, The - Gavin Ambrose & Paul Harris
The Fundamentals of Typography 15 Hieroglyphs Right Hieroglyphs on papyrus, reading downwards, indicated by the border lines. Left Hieroglyphs on obelisk. Above These Chinese ideograms represent left to right sake, beautiful and sushi. Far left Hiragana and Kanji Japanese characters. Left Korean words for top to bottom peace, angel, spirit, charm and beauty all made with ideograms. Right The Japanese Katakana alphabet. Far right Stamp from China. Ideogram-based languages Ideogrammatic languages use characters or symbols to represent an idea or concept without expressing the pronunciation of a particular word or words.
Ideogrammatic languages have a one-to-one relation between a symbol and an idea that functions in a similar way to the red road sign with a horizontal white bar that means no entry. The meaning is understood but there is no indication of how this is vocalised.
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Ideogrammatic languages, traditionally written down the page, include Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai. Many symbols have remained fundamentally the same for over 3, years even though the writing system has been standardised and stylistically altered. The system became word-based to express abstract concepts, with ideograms representing sounds rather than concepts. Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of unified China, enforced a standardised writing called small seal. Printed Chinese is modelled on the standard script. Japanese writing began in the 4th century, using imported Chinese script.
A system emerged in which Chinese characters were used to write Chinese words and their Japanese equivalents, and were also used for their phonetic values to write grammatical elements. These were simplified and eventually became the syllabic scripts an alphabet consisting of symbols for consonants and vowels Hiragana and Katakana. Texts may also include Romaji, the standard way of transliterating Japanese into the Latin alphabet. The Japanese use Romaji characters on computers that are converted to Kanji, Hiragana or Katakana characters by software.
For example, the phonemes o and x come together to make ox. A word can be broken into a series of morphemes, with each having a distinct meaning. The word discredited has three morphemes; dis, credit and ed. This may be formed by a vowel, diphthong, a syllabic consonant alone, or by any of these sounds accompanied by one or more consonants.
The word discredited has four syllables. Phoenician characters The Phoenicians lived in the eastern Mediterranean in what is modern day Lebanon. They developed the basis of the modern Latin alphabet around BC and formalised a system of 22 magic signs or symbols that represented sounds rather than objects. The symbols could be put together in different combinations to construct thousands of words, even though the alphabet only contained consonants and had no vowels. Phoenician was written horizontally from right to left without spaces between words, although dots were sometimes used to denote word breaks.
The Phoenician alphabet is the bedrock for many subsequent writing systems including Arabic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin, and ultimately for the modern European alphabet that is used today. The alphabet of 22 magic signs below that they are believed to have developed at Byblos and left to the world were the basis of subsequent languages such as Greek, Hebrew and Latin.
The 22 signs are pictured below along with their Latin equivalents and the objects that they are believed to have originally represented. Many characters such as O,W, K and X are perfectly recognisable and have changed little through the centuries. Byblos Byblos modern day Jubayl in Lebanon was a Phoenician Mediterranean seaport that exported papyrus, and from which the word Bible is derived. It is thought that the residents of this city reduced the number of symbols in the Phoenician alphabet to the 22 pictured above.
Left A detail from the Bible. The text is presented without letterspacing and without the use of punctuation. Above The 24 characters from the modern Greek alphabet and their Greek names. The Greek alphabet The Greeks adopted the characters of the Phoenician system, such as aleph a and beth b , from which they developed their alphabet. Indeed, the word alphabet is the union of the Greek characters alpha and beta right. By around BC the Greeks had added other characters to their alphabet, which became the basis of the modern day Hebrew and Arabic scripts.
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Early Greek was written in the boustrophedon style see opposite page where rather than proceeding from left to right as in modern English, or right to left as in Arabic, alternate lines must be read in opposite directions. Many ancient Mediterranean languages were typically written in this style.
The development of punctuation allowed writing to move away from the boustrophedon style towards a system that reads left to right. As this happened, many symbols were rotated to make them easier to write. Many Greek letters have a legacy in everyday speech such as alpha male and beta testing, as their symbols are used as mathematical symbols i.
Writing became more standardised around BC when the character set became fully recognisable as that which we know today in both the Greek and Roman forms. Above The transition of Phoenician characters into Greek, and ultimately, into words we recognise today. Above A block of marble inscribed with Greek text. Vowels and spaces The Greeks developed vowels, which created a complete and flexible phonetic alphabet. The insertion of spaces between words and diacritical marks see page 92 was a further development that helped facilitate reading and comprehension.
The text moves across the page from left to right, drops down a line and then comes back from right to left and so on down the page as shown in the diagram. This is not as simple as it may seem as there are three methods of doing this: the lines reverse, the lines and words reverse, or the lines, words and letters all reverse. A modern example of boustrophedon writing is the word Ambulance that is written backwards on the bonnet of an ambulance so that it can be read correctly when seen in the rear-view mirror of cars in front of it.
The Cyrillic alphabet is the basis of over 50 different languages in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, many of which use additional characters that have been adapted from standard Cyrillic letters, with others taken from the Greek or Latin alphabets.
The Cyrillic alphabet The Cyrillic alphabet has 33 letters, including 21 consonants and ten vowels, and two letters without sounds that represent hard and soft signs. Late medieval Cyrillic letters tended to be very tall and narrow, with strokes often shared between adjacent letters. Peter the Great mandated the use of westernised letterforms, which have been adopted in the other languages that use the alphabet.
This means that modern Cyrillic fonts are very similar to modern Latin fonts of the same font families. Lowercase Cyrillic letterforms are essentially smaller versions of the capitals, apart from the a, e and y that are Western shapes, rather than straightforward reductions of capital letterforms. The reversed N denotes the letter I, and a P sounds as R. Right Detail from a Russian dictionary, demonstrating that some Cyrillic characters are adapted from other alphabetical systems. This borrowing occurs with several characters such as the Greek Phi symbol Pi P that reappears as the Cyrillic character P, an upturned Latin V, an inverted R and a numeral 3.
Below left A Russian stamp showing Cyrillic characters. Russian punctuation follows similar conventions to German, such as the use of commas to offset subordinate and coordinate clauses, and spacing of letters in different ways to show emphasis. Arabic Modern day Arabic, like Phoenician, is written and read right to left. Arabic is based on the 22 consonants of the Phoenician alphabet with an optional marking of vowels using diacritics.
This alphabet contains 18 letter shapes but by adding one, two, or three diacritical marks to letters that serve as vowel sounds a total of 28 letters is obtained, as illustrated below. These diacritical marks originate in Hebrew and Aramaic and were added so that Muslims of non-Arab origin could correctly pronounce the Koran, their holy text. Arabic letterforms The 28 characters of the Aramaic alphabet and their Latin equivalents. Aramaic letterforms The 22 characters of the Aramaic alphabet and their Latin equivalents.
It is a Semitic language that was a precursor for Arabic and Hebrew, which it closely resembles. Aramaic was used and spread by the Assyrian empire and the Babylonian and Persian empires that followed it, taking the language as far as India and Ethiopia. Towards the end of the 6th century BC, the early Aramaic alphabet was replaced by the Hebrew square script, which is also confusingly known as the Aramaic alphabet. As Aramaic was the language of empire, many parts of the Old Testament were originally written in this language, as were the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Aramaic is still spoken in parts of Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Its alphabet is adapted from Aramaic and evolved into a script called Square Hebrew, which is the source of modern Hebrew printing. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, all consonants, with vowel symbols placed below the consonants if required. The Fundamentals of Typography 25 Semitic and Aramaic languages Above Arabic characters form part of the decoration of this building. Above A page of modern Hebrew text, reading right to left. Left A page from the Koran, showing text reading right to left.
Above The letters of the Hebrew alphabet top ; their use on a monument middle ; and in a page from the Torah, the Jewish religious book. Typographer Twombly was influenced by early Roman forms in this design, which is modern yet steeped in historical reference. The Fundamentals of Typography The Roman alphabet 26 The Roman alphabet The letter Roman alphabet that we use today was formed from the Greek alphabet and spread through the Roman empire.
Majuscules or uppercase letters derive directly from the forms carved in stone by the Romans, which serve as the basis for many modern day typefaces, and from where we get the name Roman. Roman is now used to describe the basic letterforms, principally the minuscules lowercase letters , even though the name is derived from the majuscule forms. Based on Plantin, but revised for legibility and economy of space, it was called Times New Roman to counterpoint the Times Old Roman the newspaper previously used. The angular carvings that have inspired many subsequent typefaces are given extra dimension over time as dirt build-up in the recesses creates visual depth.
Numerals The Romans used seven of their letterforms as base numerals, with each letter representing a numeric building block as pictured below. Numbers are constructed by stringing the blocks together. For example is MMVI. With this system the Romans did not need a character for 0. The name ampersand is a contraction of the phrase and per se and, which translates as the symbol for and by itself means and. The earliest usage of the symbol dates back to the 1st century AD and it is now found in many languages that use the Latin alphabet. The provenance of the ampersand can be clearly seen in some typefaces.
Several examples of the ampersand can be seen above. The E and T can easily be distinguished in Caslon Antique top left and in its italic counterpart top centre. The Roman version top right , however, is more abstract, as is Univers black bottom right. Rotis Sans Serif centre bottom provides a modern twist that once again separates the letters, while Robotnik bottom left uses an abstract symbol instead of following any convention.
Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, regarded as the founder of the Holy Roman empire, began to standardise all ecclesiastical texts around Alcuin of York, Abbot of Saint Martin of Tours, and his workforce of monks endeavoured to rewrite all religious texts. For this they devised a print system including majuscules, or uppercase letterforms, and minuscules, or lowercase forms.
These became known as the Caroline minuscules and would later become the basis of modern typography. With the demise of the Charlemagne rule, regional variations on this theme appeared. Blackletter became popular in Northern Europe and remained in widespread use for over years. Later, in Italy, scholars of the Renaissance period were rediscovered classic Roman and Greek works. They mistook the Caroline form as being much older, not initially realising that these books had been rewritten between Adapting their rotunda script a broad open character , a hybrid humanistic script was born the scrittura humanistica.
Modern descendants of this form are evident today Optima, shown on page 43, clearly has its roots in the calligraphic style. The Renaissance, or rebirth, began in Italy in the 14th century with the revival of interest in classical art and the classical world of ancient Greece, as people sought to move away from the dogma of religion that dominated the Middle Ages.
English has 26 letters, while traditional Spanish has 30 with the addition of , ll, ch, rr. Italian has only 21 letters, and lacks j, k, w, x and y. Below The English modern day alphabet. A set of 52 majuscule and minuscule forms. Above The modern Italian alphabet lacks the letters j, k, w, x and y. Formal looking Perpetua is based on designs from old engravings and has small, diagonal serifs and medieval numbers. The modern alphabet The modern Latin alphabet consists of 52 upper- and lowercase letters with ten numerals and a variety of other symbols, punctuation marks and accents that are employed by various different languages.
Lowercase letters developed from cursive joined up versions of the uppercase letters. Pictured below are some of the common accents used with the Latin alphabet, which will be discussed on page Acute Acute accent, from the Latin acutus, meaning sharp, represents a vowel is close or tense, has a high or rising pitch, that a vowel is long, or that the syllable in which the vowel appears is stressed. Grave From the Latin gravis meaning heavy, it is a mark placed above a vowel to indicate stress or special pronunciation. Circumflex From the Latin circumflexus, meaning bent around, the circumflex indicates that a vowel has a long sound.
From the German um, meaning around or alteration, and laut, meaning sound. Breve From the Latin brevis, which means short, this symbol placed over a vowel indicates that it has a short sound. Tilde From the medieval Latin titulus meaning title, a tilde placed over a letter indicates that a more nasal pronunciation is required such as the Spanish , that is pronounced like the ny in canyon. The Fundamentals of Typography The modern alphabet The 0 Modern numbers derive from Arabic characters and their adoption brought the 0 with them.
The numerals themselves originated in India and came into use in Arabic around AD. Common usage in Europe did not occur until the Renaissance period. Simplification Modern European digits were created in India in the 6th century or earlier, but were introduced into the West by Arab scholars. As they represent place-based values and have a value for zero, calculations can be performed with relative ease, as adding the numbers below right will prove.
Another advantage is that numbers of infinite length can be formed, whereas Roman numerals soon meet with limitations. The development of the printing press allowed the mass production of books that previously had to be written by hand. Movable type further improved this development by allowing text characters to be reused, providing further time and cost savings. This technology remained the basis of the printing industry until hot metal printing. Movable type, This is a piece of movable type for the g character.
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Many typographical terms originate with the different characteristics of these type blocks. The physical dimensions of the block dictated spacing and made negative spacing impossible, whereas computer technology makes spacing more flexible. While digitised type still adheres to the same conventions of the bounding box pictured in terms of measurements, digitisation allows these boxes to overlap, and indeed have negative tracking.
Left A printer selecting type from a type case. Pictured below are movable type blocks and the measure they will be set in. Right This is a photograph of metal type set in a block that was used by printing presses until well into the 20th century. Opposite This is a handwritten vellum from a edition of the Book of Hours prayer book that was used for private devotion from the 12th century.
Vellum is a thin sheet of specially prepared leather used for writing, that is superior in quality to parchment. These ornate qualities can be seen in the woodblock letters pictured right. Nowadays these typefaces appear heavy and difficult to read in large text blocks due to the complexity of the letters and the fact that they seem antiquated and unfamiliar to us.
Blackletter typefaces are commonly used to add decorative touches such as initial caps and on certificates. Readability Readability traditionally refers to how well the text is written and prepared, so as to facilitate reading. Readability depends on many factors including the colour of text in relation to its background, spacing, typeface, line length, justification, paragraph density and the grammar used.
Increasingly however, readability refers to the impression a piece of text creates. In this context, text set in an illegible typewriter font still conveys a certain readability due to the other elements of its presentation. Legibility The ability to distinguish one character from another, to turn letters into words and words into sentences due to qualities inherent in the typeface design is known as legibility. Above This is Blackletter , a modern font created by Bitstream Inc. The clean lines of this font result in an engraved effect.
Above Post-war , Reichsmark. Right Martin Luthers translation of the Bible into German. Many printers adopted the Venetian model as interest in Italian Renaissance art and culture grew. Parisian printer Claude Garamond c. Letterforms from this period were more representative of a pen, and utilised the greater detail that working with metal offered.
Old Style typeforms superseded Blackletter as people in Renaissance Europe began to favour classical forms. These are more condensed than the Carolingian forms that preceded them, but rounder and more expanded than Blackletter. These fonts have low contrast, with diagonal stress and serifs with rounded brackets. Many of these fonts feature redrawn characters based on those used in earlier times. For example, Caslon is a font that was redrawn to give a romanticised impression of the characters it is based on. Above A book printed and published in the 16th century.
The shapes of the characters are exaggerated to compensate for the deficiencies of the printing process and paper stock so that they remain readable. Above This is a detail from a ca. Notice how the ink fills in, probably due to the porosity of the paper stock. The characters therefore needed to be cut to remain legible at small sizes, even with ink spread.
The same principle is still used in newspaper faces, see page Morison modified letterforms such as the G to create a typeface with 31 weights an all-purpose font family suitable for almost any application. Note the crossed strokes in the W. Garamond Based on designs by 17th-century French printer Jean Jannon that were themselves based on typefaces cut by Claude Garamond from the 16th century, Garamond is an Aldine font fonts based on the designs of Aldus Manutius in the 15th century, of which Bembo and Garamond are examples of that is elegant and readable. Note the crossed strokes in the W, and the bowl of the P that does not reach the stem.
Janson Created c. The font has sturdy forms, strong stroke contrast and is used for book and magazine text. Note the long tail of the Q, the oval shape of the O and the unified apex of the W. The Fundamentals of Typography 33 The effect of printing in Europe Baskerville Created by John Baskerville in the 18th century, Baskerville is a versatile transitional font making it a precursor to the modern faces that followed with high contrast forms that are used for both body text and display type. Note the absence of the middle serif on the W and the distinctive capital Q.
Caslon Created in by typographer William Caslon, this serif font was styled on 17th-century Dutch designs. The font can be identified as most Caslons have a capital A with a scooped-out apex, a capital C with two full serifs, and in the italic, a swashed lowercase v and w. The font was chosen by Benjamin Franklin for the first printing of the American Declaration of Independence and has become a popular serif font with versions now provided by numerous type foundries. Caslon Antique This is a modern font based on a historical font. Modern typographers attempts to recreate ancient fonts in digital format often involve imaginative leaps, as they are based on printed texts where there is ink spread, and in many cases the original fonts are not available to work from.
The use of points as the measurement system was cemented during this period. Technological development also meant that font creation took less time, which opened the doors for the development of a wider range of typefaces and also made extending font families easier. Experimentation with serifs saw them become thinner and thinner until they ultimately disappeared. The absence of serifs was so unusual that other typographers called it grotesque, a name that has stuck and is still used to describe some sans serif fonts.
Transitional fonts from this period typically have vertical stress and more contrast than Old Style typefaces, in addition to horizontal serifs. Towards the end of the Industrial Revolution, transitional types began to adopt the characteristics that are seen in modern typefaces. The first sans serif typeface, William Caslon developed a sans serif typeface called Egyptian in reference to public interest in Egypt following Napoleon campaign.
It was not well received, however, and was called grotesque and Gothic a style of architecture going through a revival at the time. Egyptian has since come to refer to slab serif typefaces, perhaps because the slabs mirror the construction of the pyramids.
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Pantographic punchcutter, The pantographic punchcutter, invented by Linn Boyd Benton in , made possible the manufacture of composing machines. As an operator traced a brass pattern of a letter with one part of the device, its cutting tool engraved the letter on to the punch. Line-casting machine, Invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in , the line-casting machine produces a metal slug with a single line of type, with characters input with a keyboard like a typewriter.
The machine assembles brass matrices into a line, which it then casts. American Typefounder ATF, The merger of 23 type foundries to form American Type Founders Company created what would become the largest type foundry in the world with a monopoly on the type industry until movable type became obsolete. The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, completed in , is considered the foremost example of Gothic architecture, which is characterised by slender vertical piers, counterbalancing buttresses, vaulting and pointed arches.
The three scripts of the same text provided a valuable key that helped to decipher hieroglyphs. Following refinements, by the process had been refined to print speeds of 10, sheets per hour, which made mass production of designs economically viable. Lithography allowed the merging of art with industry to produce posters and colour plates for books. The first person to mass produce posters with lithography was Jules Chret in Paris. Despite these developments, the term graphic design does not appear until the s. Monotype character caster, The revolutionary monotype caster cast single letters in lead and composed them into a page.
This allowed corrections to be made at the character level rather than having to recast a whole line with linotype. Monotype could also produce leads and quads for spacing. Spacing is explained on page The Chieftains by F. Burnand and Arthur Sullivan, The oversized terminals T, F, E and cross bars H are used for dramatic effect in this lithograph poster. Aristide Bruant at Les Ambassadeurs, Toulouse- Lautrec, The painted letterforms in this lithograph poster create a singular form combining text and image.
Poster for an Airshow, Typography mirrors subject matter in this lithograph poster. The rounded moderne structures of the Zeppelin are transposed on to the typography. Ninth Almanac, Distinctive letterforms are rendered, creating a logotype rather than a title in this lithograph poster. Simplicissimus, right Thomas Theodor Heine created this illustration for the cover of the German satirical magazine Simplicissimus that he co-founded in The Arts and Crafts Movement favoured simplicity, and good craftsmanship and design.
British artist and architect William Morris was a leading exponent of this new style that sought to re-establish a link between beautiful work and the worker, by rediscovering an honesty in design that is not found in mass-produced items. It is round, open and sturdy. Although heavier in appearance than many other serif fonts, it is very legible. It is a wide, rather square, monotone Gothic with small hairline serifs reminiscent of the edges on letters that were engraved in copperplate.
The characters impart a feel of serious business that is understated and refined. Wide and open, it is legible at small sizes. Highlights include the upward pointing ear of the g, the diamond-shaped dots over the i and j, and the rounded upward swelling of the horizontal strokes at the base of the E and L. It has subtle stroke contrast, with the thinning of round strokes as they merge into stems. The font includes a two-story g. Its various weights give it a lot of versatility, making it ideal for newspapers. It is an extremely legible font that is suitable for textbooks, magazines and other publications.
Penny Black, The worlds first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued in The letters in the bottom left and right hand corners denote the stamps position on the printed sheet, AA, AB, AC etc. The terracotta frieze running the circumference depicts The Triumph of the Arts and Sciences. The letterforms are based on the handwriting and drawings of Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who produced highly original buildings, interiors and furniture at the turn of the 20th century. The font family is unusual and off beat, and a good choice for product packaging, advertising, and graphic designs with a period flair.
Morris Fuller Bentons design of is still popular today, appearing in many newspapers and as a headline typeface for advertising. Eckmann, Otto Eckmann, Named after designer Otto Eckmann, the characters have flowing floral contours that provide a nostalgic feeling. The typeface was intended for display at large sizes. Modernists departed from the rural and provincial zeitgeist prevalent in the Victorian era, rejecting its values and styles in favour of cosmopolitanism.
Functionality and progress became key concerns in the attempt to move beyond the external physical representation of reality through experimentation in a struggle to define what should be considered modern. Modernist typefaces often sought to force viewers to see the everyday differently by presenting unfamiliar forms. It is a modernist building that follows the mantra of form follows function, and its aesthetics are integral to its function. Left Modernist tendencies can be seen in Portrait of Batrice Hastings by Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani that features the deliberate distortion of features and the use of large areas of flat colour.
It is named after The Centaur by Maurice de Gurin, the first book to use the font. De Stijl, An art and design movement founded around the magazine of the same name that was founded by Theo Van Doesburg. De Stijl used strong rectangular forms, employed primary colours and celebrated asymmetrical compositions. Constructivism, A modern art movement originating in Moscow in , characterised by the use of industrial materials such as glass, sheet metal and plastic to create non representational, often geometric objects. Russian constructivism was influential to modernism through its use of black and red sans serif typography arranged in asymmetrical blocks.
Until forced to close in , the Bauhaus sought to initiate a fresh approach to design following the First World War, with a focus on functionality rather than adornment. Left In Russian Wassily Kandinsky, a tutor on the Bauhaus Basic Course, proposed that there was a universal relationship between the three basic shapes and the three primary colours, with the yellow triangle being the most active and dynamic, through to the passive, cold blue circle.
Underground, Edward Johnston, This striking sans serif font was created by Edward Johnston for use on the signage of the London Underground. Typographer Eric Gill studied under Johnston, who is considered the father of the 20th century typography revival, and this connection is clear to see in Gill Sans, which further refines the London Underground font. Gill Sans has more classical proportions, geometric elements and contains a distinctive capital R and eyeglass lowercase g. ITC Kabel,Victor Caruso, Kabel features basic forms influenced by stone-carved Roman letters that consist of a few pure and clear geometric forms such as circles, squares and triangles.
Art Deco elements such as the seemingly awkward angles of some of the curves makes Kabel appear very different from other geometric modernist typefaces. Based on an earlier design by Rudolph Koch in Dadaism, An artistic and literary movement that developed following World War I and sought to discover an authentic reality through the abolition of traditional culture and aesthetic forms.
Dadaism brought new ideas, materials and directions, but with little uniformity. Its principles were of deliberate irrationality, anarchy and cynicism, and the rejection of laws of beauty. Dadaists lived in the moment and for the moment. Small diagonal serifs and a medieval number set add an element of formality to the typeface. He included a flared capital R and eyeglass lowercase g in this humanist sans serif that has geometric touches. Bayer Universal top , Bayer Fonetik bottom , Herbert Bayer, Herbert Bayer embodied the modernist desire to reduce designs to as few elements as possible and repeatedly experimented with typography to reduce the alphabet to a single case.
Basic Alphabet below was a further experimentation with language, with words written like they sound, and with silent letters dropped. The letterforms in some way try to visually express the sounds they represent, as typographical elements are reduced. Capitals are indicated with an underscore for example. The original use of materials expressed the ideal of modernity through its geometry, the precision of the pieces constructed and the clarity of their assembly.
One of the effects of this war was the displacement of designers, architects and other creatives from Europe to the USA. Poster Bodoni, Chauncey H. Griffith, Based on an 18th century design by Gianbattista Bodoni, this is a modern font characterised by hairline serifs that are subtly bracketed and heavy downstrokes that give a powerful vertical stress. One people, one empire, one leader! The Nazi regime actively promoted Blackletter type as the official type-style for Germany, linking it with a nostalgic idea of German culture, until when Blackletter was outlawed in favour of Roman type.
The Nazis also liked the modern, industrial look of Bauhaus typefaces, which they endorsed in the s, when it was thought that a Roman typeface would have more international appeal. Futura, Paul Renner, Futura is considered the major typeface development to come out of the constructivist orientation of the Bauhaus movement. Typographer Paul Renner based the characters on the simple forms of circle, triangle and square, but softened them to be more legible and to create a new, modern type that was more than an old revival.
The long elegant ascenders and descenders benefit from generous line spacing and help create this striking and radical typeface that is strong and elegant. Although both are sans serif fonts, there are noticeable differences such as the absence of a tail on the Univers G, y and a, the more open, rounded counter on the Univers a and the bisecting tail of the Helvetica Q. The cultural scene also expanded, boosted by many European creatives and intellectuals who had fled Nazi Europe, and the teenager emerged as both a market and creative force.
Design became more elaborate, with bright colours that celebrated life as personified in cars such as the candy-coloured Ford Thunderbird. The demand for wider choice and the emergence of photosetting helped typography develop. Typographers such as Hermann Zapf led the humanist movement, with the lines between serif and sans serif typefaces blurred as organic lines were reintroduced into typography.
Humanist fonts have forms that are based on classic Romans, but without the serifs. Helvetica, Max Miedinger, Created by Max Miedinger - the forgotten designer - Helvetica is one of the most famous and popular typefaces in the world. With clean, no- nonsense shapes based on the Akzidenz-Grotesk font. Originally called Haas Grotesk, its name changed to Helvetica in The Helvetica family has 34 weights and the Neue Helvetica has It is available in 59 weights that combine well with other fonts.
This was characterised by intense distrust, the build upof nuclear weapons and geo-political manoeuvering. Guggenheim left One of the worlds leading modern art museums, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was founded in New York City in and noted for the spiral building designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and opened in Ford Thunderbird Launched in , the Thunderbird is the quintessential s two-seat convertible American car that defined the luxury car market.
It is optimised for legibility, with open counters and carefully weighted strokes based on classical Italian Renaissance forms that were legible even on the inferior quality papers available following the Second World War. It has a robust character with classic and objective forms, and is versatile and extremely legible. Optima is a humanist sans serif blended with Roman and calligraphic styles, making it a smooth read and general purpose font, which became his most successful typeface. Letterforms are in the proportions of the golden ratio.
The golden ratio is discussed on pages Jan Tschichold, Jan Tschicholds Die Neue Typographie The New Typography , published in , expounded the idea of simplicity, clarity and functionality, sans serif fonts and asymmetry. Tschichold was driven by the desire to make efficient use of materials to result in a fairer world, such as doing away with uppercase characters.
Escaping Nazi Germany to Switzerland, he later recanted some of his earlier prescriptive ideas, feeling they were too similar to the thought control of Nazism and Stalinism. Asymmetrical An asymmetrical layout features a grid that is the same on both the recto and verso pages, and typically has a bias towards one side of the page.
In the illustration above, the grid is biased towards the right. Grids, mathematical principles, minimal decoration and sans serif typography became the norm as typography developed to represent universal usefulness more than personal expression. Mistral, Roger Excoffon, A loose running script based on the handwriting of typographer Roger Excoffon, who wanted to create a typeface with the variety and non-uniformity of handwriting.
Easily rubbed directly on to artwork or virtually any substrate, it was often used for headlines and display type while body type was supplied via a typewriter. Letraset commissioned new typefaces including Colin Brignalls futuristic Countdown font below. The characters fit into a 4 x 7 grid which makes them easily read by a scanner, even though they are not so legible to the human eye. Subsequent version OCR-B was made a world standard in and is more legible to the human eye. Countdown, Colin Brignall, This typeface developed for Letraset is synonymous with the s, the space race and the development of computer technology.
Pop art Pop art developed as a reaction against abstract art. It was often witty, purposely obvious and throwaway in its reflection of consumer culture such as advertising and comic books. Pop arts influence on typography resulted in fonts particularly for display type designed or selected according to possible associations or references in place of any particular theory regarding legibility or aesthetics, while the International Style remained influential for body text.
Psychedelia Towards the end of the decade the anti-establishment hippy movement and flower power counterculture saw increasing use of text and artwork with a strong art nouveau influence that provided a visual simile of the effect of psychedelic drugs, with distorted text and colours that challenged conventional readability. Although the millionth Kombi was sold in , it is most associated with the hippy movement later that decade. Meier, Syntax is a humanist monoline a typeface with a uniform stroke width sans serif based on Renaissance letterforms. Eurostile, Aldo Novarese, Eurostile features a subtle distortion of circular sans serif geometric forms, with rounded corners that look like television sets.
Created by Italian typographer Aldo Novarese, it reflects the zeitgeist of the s and s, giving text a dynamic, modern feel. Eurostile gives text a technological aura that works well for headlines and small bodies of text. By projecting a character created on the screen of a cathode ray tube like a TV through a lens on to light-sensitive paper or film, it could be stored in a magnetic memory, overwritten and edited. This was much faster than physically adjusting hot metal type and led to increased proliferation of typefaces and historical revivals as fonts became more international.
The s saw computers increasingly involved in this process through a mixture of photocomposition and the digital techniques that would emerge later, with several competing languages and formats. Throughout this decade the potential to design directly on screen increased, offering industry professionals more options and flexibility. Avant Garde, Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase, Designed by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase and based on Lubalins logo for Avant Garde magazine, this is a geometric sans serif type reminiscent of the work from the s German Bauhaus movement, whose geometric shapes were made with a compass and T-square.
The large, open counters and tall x-heights seem friendly, and help to make this family effective for headlines and short texts. Punk rejected the decadent, elaborate nature of music, fashion and the visual arts in favour of the disposable and shocking. ITC was formed in New York to market new typeface designs, distribute royalties to the creators and extend rights to typographers that were threatened by the photographic copying of fonts.
Prior to this, type designers had been tied to particular typesetting machine manufacturers. The formation of the ITC resulted in a drive to collect and commission new work, including revisiting classic fonts. Anarchy symbol The circled A is an anarchist symbol popularised by the s punk movement, although it dates back to the anarchist militia in the Spanish Civil War of the s. Some characters only read as letters when used in combination with other characters. Benguiat was influential in the revival of art nouveau typefaces and created logotypes for The New York Times, Playboy and Readers Digest.
Stop, Aldo Novarese, above A stencil-inspired futuristic font, Stop displays the preoccupation of the time. Themes of supersonic travel and geometric reduction create an unmistakable and characterful letterform. Concorde, left An iconic, delta-winged supersonic passenger aircraft developed by Arospatiale-BAC that entered service in and had a cruising speed of Mach 2. As hairstyles and shoulder pads got bigger and bigger, physical cutting and pasting in graphic design was eliminated as computers took over, giving greater ability to experiment.
The digital revolution meant that new fonts could be designed and trialled quickly and easily, without the great expense and commitment of hot metal type. Bitstream, Bitstream, founded in by Matthew Carter and Mike Parker, was the the first digital type foundry. The production of digital fonts further separated type design from manufacturers. Bitsream developed Charter with open letterforms for low-resolution printers and created Verdana for screen use, with curves, diagonals and straight lines rendered in pixel patterns, rather than drawn.
Verdana, Matthew Carter, Verdana is a sans serif font commissioned by software firm Microsoft specifically to address the challenges of on-screen display. The font is stripped of features that are redundant on screen. Its characteristics are derived from pixel rather than the pen, with weighting that ensures that pixel patterns at small sizes are pleasing, clear and legible. Postmodernism Following the Second World War, postmodernism questioned the notion that there is a reliable reality by deconstructing authority and the established order through fragmentation, incoherence and the plain ridiculous.
Postmodernism returned to earlier ideas of adornment and decoration, celebrating expression and personal intuition rather than dogmatic formulae and structure. Designers turned to vernacular design, such as Barry Decks Template Gothic inspired by a launderette sign , rather than seeking universal truths. Template Gothic a vernacular typeface Template Gothic, Barry Deck, Template Gothic was inspired by a launderette sign made with stencil templates. The design conveys a sense of imperfection and the distorted ravages of photomechanical reproduction that embraces the vernacular of low culture.
Arial is a contemporary sans serif design that contains many humanist characteristics. The overall treatment of curves is softer and fuller than in most industrial style sans serif faces. Terminal strokes are cut on the diagonal and help to give the face a less mechanical appearance. Arial is a versatile family that can be used with equal success in many different applications.
Arial Black, Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders, The Face, Graphic designer Neville Brody revolutionised magazine design with his unabashed love of typography that he displayed on the pages of The Face, a style magazine covering music, design and fashion. Historic and contemporary type were subjected to exaggeration in scale and proportion, were exploded and otherwise distorted, and complemented with Brodys own computer-generated fonts as he challenged the notion of legibility.
Initially selecting fonts from established libraries, he began designing and commissioning typefaces that would maintain legibility at different resolutions. Stone includes a serif and sans-serif with an informal style that is very legible and makes a modern, dynamic impression. Citizen, Zuzana Licko, The Citizen font was inspired by the smooth printing option provided by Macintosh, which processed 72dpi bitmaps into dpi bitmaps for laser printers, seemingly polishing stair step pixels into smooth diagonals.
Straight line segments were used to approximate the features of smooth printing. Trixie, LettError, Trixie is based on the imperfections of a monospaced typewriter font as font design turned again towards developing more sophisticated and smoother fonts. LettError based Trixie on the look of a dirty, inky typewriter type to give a rougher look that is irreverent and playful.
As well as providing an identity, the logo was produced with an adaptable colour system that was used to identify the different activities and print requirements of the institute. The Mac, Macintosh revolutionised the personal computer by making computer screens user-friendly and hiding the operational programming from the user, in contrast to IBMs approach. Control in type production migrated away from professional typesetters to designers, and extended to amateurs as well as industry professionals.
The low resolution of early personal computers called for new fonts to ensure legibility. Fontographer, Typeface customisation became available to anyone through the advent of the Fontographer design program, which allowed existing fonts to be manipulated and reshaped. Cheap Fontographer-produced fonts entering the market initially caused concerns for traditional typography companies, although this was tempered by the amount of work it takes to create an entirely new typeface.
Segura believes that some fonts are so decorative that they almost become visuals that tell a story beyond the words. A font thats a sans and a serif Officina, Erik Spiekermann and MetaDesign, With both serif and sans serif forms, Officina embodies the ideals of efficient office communication, with styling based on traditional typewriters but adapted to modern technology and spaced to offer optimal legibility.
Hailed as the typeface for the s, it is named after Meta Studio, where the new typeface was exclusively used. Type use became more subtle and expressive to be part of the message rather than just its conveyor. Photos of cow tongues form the crossbars of the capital F of Fresh and reversed E at the end of Dialogue.
The font features a series of ligatures that gve i a contemporary wis. Licko gave the font ligatures, such as between the s and t, that give it a contemporary twist. The font is named after Baskervilles housekeeper Sarah Eaves. Pushkin, Gennady Fridman, Typography uses references from the past as well as looking to the future to provide the tools for print communication.
Pushkin, for example, is based on the autograph of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin , with several versions available that correspond to changes in his orthography. The growth of multimedia applications presents new demands on fonts, with the need to obtain legibility between computers, mobile phones and other devices. Graphic designers continue to experiment and enjoy the ability that modern technology allows to free-form type quickly and integrate it in their designs.
Pluralism Today we are living in a pluralistic phase, embracing the ability to move between different styles and points of view. Rather than there being a single meta-narrative, pluralists suggest that there are many narratives and that fewer universal truths exist in a globalised world. Truths are instead more individualistic, personal and specific. This results in regionalism in graphic design, as something that is appropriate in one country will not necessarily translate well in another.
Diesel Fifty book by Vasava Artworks, These elaborate uppercase letters seem to come from a fantasy novel, but were in fact created by Spains Vasava Artworks design studio for clothing brand Diesel for its Fifty book that gives an insight into the life of Renzo Rosso and the Diesel universe he created. The story of how he evolved from jeans manufacturer to premium brand is told over more than pages and includes subjects such as steps to creativity and cult objects.
Creativity is a central theme that permeates the book, as shown in the dramatic style as the cover image red and typography. Every spread provides a different creative idea. Designer as Maker, Studio Myerscough, Type can be many things. It can be quiet, loud, brash, understated, but ultimately, it can be unexpected. Studio Myerscough, with their freethinking approach to the possibilities of typography, demonstrate the ironic beauty and power of a simple message.
It features a number of typographic installations in Morecambe, England as part of a town arts project that includes poems and traditional sayings. The structural and modernist approach is playful and memorable. Logotypes, Parent, Design software applications have made negative tracking a real possibility for the designer as these logotypes by design studio Parent show.
Above, the type features overly rounded, almost inflated forms that overlap to create a distinctive identity that is enhanced by the drip effect and colour selection. Below, the letters work together like a Greek key border, seemingly forming one continuous string, although each one is separate. Rock Style, Studio Myerscough, Studio Myerscough design studio created this dynamic illuminated typography for an exhibition on rock style.
The type installation is informative and adds style to the event in a way that is denotive, in that the message tells us that it is about fashion, and cognitive in that the red Marquee letters suggest fame, fashion and rock music. An understanding of this terminology and the measurement system is essential for the satisfactory communication of typographical concepts. The ascenders have been extended to appear like the straws through which the drinks at the party would be drunk. A typeface is a collection of characters which have the same distinct design, while a font is the physical means of typeface production be it the description of a typeface in computer code, lithographic film or metal.
James Felici in his Complete Manual of Typography explains the difference as a font being a cookie cutter and the typeface the cookie produced. So while one can ask What typeface is that? What is a font? A font is the physical means used to create a typeface, whether it be a typewriter, a stencil, letterpress blocks or a piece of PostScript code.
What is a typeface? A typeface is a collection of characters, letters, numerals, symbols and punctuation, which have the same distinct design. Pictured below are examples of typefaces produced using the cookie cutters mentioned left : a typewriter, a stencil, a letterpress and a piece of PostScript code.