Friday, 13 January 2012

Lecture Eight - A History of Type.

  • Type is the intersect or overlap between visual and verbal communication.
  • Typography covers: a meta communication - a language that is used to comment on another language, paralinguistics - structures another language or the rhythm of communication and - gestures alongside words to change meaning.
  • Type classification: Humanist, old style, transitional, modern, slab serif (egyptian) and sans serif.
Type through time
  • Roman Age - most of our alphabet came from this time. Tragans column.
  • Dark Ages - 1000 years of no development
  • Medieval - lower case was developed.
  • Age of Print - Guttenberg printing press invented in 1450, moveable type. First moveable  typefaces were based on human writing, black letter/gothic.
  • The first typeface was created by Nicolas Jenson and it was called Jenson.
  • More readable and modern than black letter.
  • Designed to look Italian renaissance.
  • Characteristics are little difference in first and second stroke and inclination of the 'e'
  • Painter Geofroy Troy believed the alphabet should reflect the proportion of the human form.
Old Style
  • The next fifty years of type really developed.
  • Shift between imitating human writing to type, as an art on its own.
  • Characteristics are no upturned 'e' and spacing.
  • Type as a distinct form.
  • Now type wasn't based on the human form but created on quasi-scientific lines.
  • During the enlightenment period, 1693.
  • Characteristics are difference in stroke width. Also as society became more rational the letters became more vertical.
  • Late 18th century John Baskerville created a type with a contrast between thick and thin.
  • Start of Modernity.
  • Sometimes called Didone.
  • 1784 French Modernity, Giambattista Bodini.
  • Characteristics are very high stroke contrast, every angle horizontal and vertical, ordered, represented elegance and style.
Slab Serif
  • 1880's, industrial revolution.
  • The nickname 'Egyptian' is random and does not relate to the style.
  • Characteristics not sophisticated, rules of hierarchy broken, condensed to fit lots on a page.
  • Typewriter font.
Sans Serif
  • Around in the 1800's but popular in the modernist era.
  • Progressive, looking to the future.
  • Uni cameral, all text lower case.
  • Grotesk typefaces are simple and stripped down, all about communication and historicism.

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