The History of Typography – Animated Short


type is power. the power to express words
and ideas visually. it’s timeless but always changing, and that’s what we’re
going to explore most people agree that the creator of
typography was a German man named johannes gutenberg and, yes, he wore a hat
like that. before gutenberg came along and revolutionized the world of
communication, books needed to be scribed by hand usually by monks, which was very time
consuming and expensive. so gutenberg created black-letter, the first-ever
typeface, modeled after the writing of the scribes. black leather has thick
vertical lines and thin horizontal connectors, which made it great for
scribing, but it looked very dense and squished together when printed. something needed to change enter Roman type. this particular
typefaces cambria which you’re probably used to seeing on your word processor
but the first-ever Roman typeface was created in the 15th century by the
Frenchman Nicholas Jenson this is his type face right here. jenson
worked mainly in venice, italy and was inspired by the lettering found on
ancient Roman buildings. his letter forms were based on straight lines and regular
curves this made them very clear and legible
compared to the dense darkness of black letter this legible new typeface was an instant
success and quickly spread across Europe, riding on the coattails of the
Renaissance. the next major innovation in typography after Roman letters was
italics, which are like slanted and stylized versions of Roman type they were created in the late 15th
century by Aldus Manutius from Italy as a way of fitting more letters onto
the page and saving money now we use italics interspersed
in roman type for emphasis Aldus Manutius also created the
modern comma and semicolon, but that’s another story type development stayed fairly stagnant
until the 18th century in England when William Caslon created a typeface
that set a new standard for legibility while it wasn’t anything radical, it was
just what the world was looking for. the style of Caslon’s typeface is now
referred to as old style. a few decades later another Brit named John
Baskerville created a new variety of typeface which we call transitional.
later still a Frenchman named Didot and an Italian name Bodoni created
typefaces that we have classified as modern most serif typefaces fit into one
of these three categories but what does each category mean? an old style typeface
has letters that have fixed serifs and low contrast between thick and thin
strokes. a transitional type face has letters with thinner serifs and a
higher contrast between thick and thin strokes. and a modern typeface has
letters with very thin serifs and extreme contrast between thick and thin
strokes next, William Caslon’s great grandson named
William Caslon the fourth got sick of all of these seraphs so he decided to
remove them entirely and made a new kind of typeface called the sans-serif it didn’t catch on immediately but would
eventually get really big during the Second Industrial Revolution
advertising created a need for new typefaces. letters were made taller and
wider mainly used in large sizes on posters and billboards things got pretty weird but one happy
result of all of this experimentation is Egyptian or slab serif it has really thick serifs and is
usually used for titles. as a backlash to the complexity found in typefaces of the
19th century, the early 20th century brought something simple Paul Renner from Germany created a
typeface called futura. it was based on simple geometric shapes this is called the geometric sans around the same time a British man named
eric gill created a typeface called gill sans that was similar to a geometric
sans but with gentler, more natural curves and this is called a humanist
sans. the next major step in the world of sans serifs happened in Switzerland
in 1957 with the introduction of helvetica. it has simple curves and is
available in many different weights and some would call it the world’s favourite
type face. the world of typography changed forever with the introduction of the computer.
there were a few difficult years of crude pixel type due to the primitive screen technology
but then technology evolved and computers began to allow for the
creation of thousands of beautiful typefaces, and the odd dud, but now
anyone has the freedom to create their own unique typeface, and that is the
history of typography yeah

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