Over the course of many centuries, mechanical type has experienced various key development periods in order to reach the level of importance it has today in the typographical world. This blog will outline and discuss these development periods in great detail in order to provide an understanding of each respective period along with some helpful images to further assimilate how these periods helped in developing typography as it’s seen today. There are three periods that stand out as milestones:
Incunabula is described as books printed from the time of the Gutenberg press until the changes that inevitably took place as the medium evolved (Meggs 80). This era also marks the time when the art of printing spread throughout Europe, helping the population combat illiteracy (Meggs 80-81).
Industrialization and Mass Print Culture
The Industrial Revolution era was a period defined by epistemological change as large scale social/economical changes started taking place. The double cylinder steam powered press was an important invention during this period, increasing the printing process dramatically (Meggs 151). Around this time, ideas such as the mode of production and commodity form provided further insight into the mass print culture.
Modernism is the era which saw many innovative typefaces and movements start gaining traction, acting as an important period for the history of typography as the product of various movements and designers from this period still have an impact on designers to this day.
Meggs, Philip B., and Alston W. Purvis. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. 5th ed., Wiley and Sons, 2012. Print.
Banner Image made by Ivana Hristova.
Fig.1 Meggs, B. Phillip. A History of Graphic Design. Sixth Edition. Canada: John Wiley and Sons, Inc: 2016. Print.
Fig.2 Parry, John Orlando. “London Street Scene”, 1835. MOWGLI SURF, Christian Franzen , 19 July 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2018. <www.mowglisurf.com/blogs/mowgli-surf/tuesday-art-attack-john-orlando-parry-london-street-scene-1835>.
Fig.3 Zwart, Piet. “Pages from NKF Cableworks Catalog”, 1928. Widewalls, Ana Moriarty, 29 May, 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2018. <https://www.widewalls.ch/bauhaus-typography>.