Welcome to our site!  Within the subpages of this site we will explore the history of typography by analyzing significant movements such as incunabula (1450-1550), industrialization mass visual culture (1800-1900) and modernism (1900-1950). This site offers historical background information that explains the contributing factors of each time period which helped shape typography as we know it. Each page discusses different factors that occurred during the time of each movement to help put into context the significance of each time period. Through discussion of the technical advancements, type design and the overall historical context of each movement we will have a clear idea of what each time period consisted of and why they were crucial to the advancement of typography.


Our first subpage will be focusing on the time period between 1450-1550 and will be taking a look at incunabula. We will discuss the creation of early printed books including illuminated manuscripts and the use of metal type.

Erfurt, Germany from the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493

Erfurt, Germany from the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493

By visiting the industrialization page you will explore typography between the years 1800-1900. We will discuss the technical advancement of the Gutenberg printing press and introduce you to the world of mathematization in relation to typographical styles that included geometric structures and proportions. We will look at the way type became apart of design as a whole and a crucial part of the overall composition of advertisements and poster designs. Lastly we will take a look at an artist by the name of Johann Heinrich Meyers who designed the decoration of three dimentional fonts in 1835.


Image from page 100 of “Carroll and Brooks readers- a reader for the fifth grade” (1911)

The Exploration of Modernism talks about the definition of modernism in the 19th century. The idea of modernism at the time was explained with the responses given by the public. There are connections found from modernism with Deutscher Werkbund  and Industrie Plakate. The futurist movement could also be found to have played a large part at the time. The First World War was a large factor for the meaning of the type since artists wanted to express their own opinions of the war. At the time the idea type focused more on function and meaning since such ideas could reflect back onto events at the time.

1912 Oppenheimer, wine label

Behrens, Peter 1912 Oppenheimer, wine label

Work Cited

Library, MCAD. 1912r Oppenheimer, wine label. Digital image. Visual Hunt. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2017. <https://visualhunt.com/f/photo/8368812838/5dc0f3f0d3/>.

“Blocks Prints Font.” Visual Hunt, visualhunt.com/photo/3366/.

“Erfurt, Germany from the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493.” Visual Hunt, visualhunt.com/f/photo/3314776573/b9e74befd7/.

“Image from Page 100 of ‘Carroll and Brooks Readers – a Reader for the Fifth Grade’ (1911).” Visual Hunt, visualhunt.com/f/photo/14596905430/372b80c9f3/.