University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
History of Typography
First of all, what is typography? Typography is the art of letter forms being organized into certain words or sentences. Typography came from the Greek word typos which means form and graphe which means writing.
Most people would agree that a German man named Johannes Guttenberg was the one who invented typography. Before Guttenberg, everything had to be scribed by hand which was very time consuming. Guttenberg also created blackletter, the first ever typeface. Since blackletter looked very compact, a man named Nicolas Jensen invented the first ever Roman typeface during the 15th century. Since Jensen’s typeface was made of straight lines and regular curves, it was easier to be read compared to the blackletter typeface.
After Roman letters, the italics typeface was created during the late 15th century by Aldus Manutius.
During the 18th century, a man named William Caslon created a typeface called Old Style. A few decades later, John Baskerville created a variety of typeface which is now called Transitional. A few years later, a French man named Didot and an Italian man named Bodoni created typefaces that are classified as Modern.
During the second industrial revolution, advertising needed new typefaces. Letters got taller, wider, and even weirder.
Since the typefaces during the 19th century were so complex, the early 20th century brought something simple. A man named Paul Renner from Germany created a typeface called Futura which was based on simple geometric shapes.
In 1957, Helvetica was introduced. Some would call this the world’s most favorite typeface.
The world of typography changed with the introduction of the computer – and it will continue improving since technology is constantly improving too.