Typography is defined as being the style and aesthetic of a printed product. It is the manner in which type is arranged onto a page for the purpose of design, but more importantly typography is the process of designing with the intent of optimal visual communication. The process of design typography, in direct relation to visual communication, has gone through a series of drastic changes reflecting societal and cultural change. By providing historical context and observations of these changes it becomes possible to understand how typography has changed from period to period and how technological advancement, cultural advancement, scientific advancement and philosophical advancement directly influence how typography effectively communicates though design.
This website will provide in-depth discussion and analysis on the history of typography from three distinct typographical periods: the incunabula period from 1450-1550, the industrialization and mass print culture period from 1800-1900, and lastly the modernist period from 1900-1950. This discussion on distinct typographical periods and the changes that have occurred within typographical design will be related to observations based on historical context and critical thinking.
Firstly, how the development of Gutenberg’s printing press during the Incunabula period directly changes book production culture and the quality of written text altogether, and how the convenience of mass produced books influenced the effects of literacy.
Secondly, how the introduction of the industrialization process and mass production culture causes a shift in the process of production and how objects are seen, existing as commodities based on producer, consumer relationships and the effects that the rationalization of production has on them.
Lastly, the effect that the modernization of society has on art and design, specifically the introduction of the machine age and machine aesthetic and how they influence the idea of type existing as an image and picture, influencing the visual communication of concepts and ideas.
By understanding these three periods of human history and design it becomes possible to see how type design drastically changes from period to period, and the direct influence that typography itself has on the process of visual communication and the direct effect type has on society and culture itself.