Typeline

Introducing a “typeline,” a brief timeline of typography and the events or innovations that changed its history. This website focuses on three general factors that have contributed to the development of type: politics, technology and aesthetics.


As a civilization, humanity has (almost) always communicated visually. From the first recorded pieces of art or visual communication found in caves, depictions of hunts can be seen; the ideas or hopes that those artists associated with that hunt can still be alluded to.

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The people of this civilization used the natural resources around them to paint, effectively responding to their environment by creating a piece that reflected the concerns and interests of the time. Even before the development of written alphabets, ideas or information were recorded and exchanged using pictures or a system of visual language using such things as logographs or pictographs, shown in the picture below.

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Furthermore, within the present day, there is an increased focus on digital media and the internet, which is a new method of communication that has been created in the last couple of decades. The world is constantly changing and progressing with new inventions of communication and the practice of typography has always been evolving and adapting to those societal changes.


On this page, a brief timeline of typography and the innovations or inventions that changed its history or aided in it’s developments is displayed. Different factors that have affected it are presented in their own subsections on the website. Click a specific phase in history or invention on the timeline and you’ll be taken to a page discussing it in further detail or the general factor that relates to it. Have fun exploring!

Typeline

A Historic Timeline of Typography

10000 -15000 BCE
Cave Paintings

Glyphs

14th-17th century (Renaissance, Classical era)

Manuscripts

Relief printing

Printing press

Ephemera

Travel books

Nationalism

Colonialism

Blackletter

Humanist typefaces

Oldstyle type

Transitional style

Rationalization

Mid 1700’s-mid 1800’s (Industrial Revolution, the beginning of Modernity)
Printing press

Steam powered engine

Assembly line production

Analog mediation

Typewriter

Motion picture

Photography

Chromolithography

Paper machine

Late 1800’s- early 1900s (Modernism)

Cinema

Photography

Telegraphy

Transportation

Postal service

Mechanized warfare

Taylorism

Globalization

The symbolists

Plakastil style

WWI

Futurists

Dadaists

Ethnocentrism

Art Nouveau (Japonisme, the floral era, the geometric phase)

Depth and surface

The curvilinear line

Geometric patterns

Poster design

The vienna secession

Functionalism

Bauhaus

Expressionism

Cubism

Futurism

Dada

De stijl

Surrealism

Typophoto

Collage

“Optical purity”

Machine aesthetics

The New Typography by Jan Tschichold (1928)

Asymmetrical layouts

Geometric sans serif types

 

After 1930’s (Postmodernism)
Art and copy team

Branding

Research into optical and communication sciences (semiotics)

Phototypography

Emergence of computers

International Type Corporation (ITC fonts)

Offset printing

Emergence of poster art as a genre

Pastiche

WWII

Human sciences

Art Concret

Utopian aspirations of the International Typographic Style

School of Design in Basel (Switzerland, neutral in World Wars)

 “Neutral” International Type Style

Geometric sans serifs

Simple icons

Universalism

Mathematical design

Sans serifs

Abstraction

Visual/verbal integration

Figurative typography

Photolettering after the 1960s

Univers, Helvetica

Push Pin group

Postmodern referencing

Pastiche

Optical signifier and glyphs

Moholy-Nagy

Isotype movement

Simplified pictographs

Simultaneity

 

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