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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


     Typography is the art of the arrangement and design and the printing of text.  The word first originated from Greek 'typos' meaning "impression, mark, figure" and grapheia meaning "writing" but it's is as old as civilization itself.  Typography first appeared during the invention of the written word and eventually became a systematic craft.  As time passed the written type evolved to become more legible and graphical and adapted to embody the styles of the era.  During the days of the revolutionary mechanical printing press typography became the arrangement of the casted lead block texts on the press and the process of printing it.  Typography became closely woven with the printing industry and the designs and fabrication of the typefaces was often influenced by the manufacturing process of the text.  And as modern electronics revolutionized typography also became incorporated in digital text.

     Today typography is used quite heavily in the commercial advertising industry.  Typefaces and text layouts follows strict design concepts to become more appealing to audiences and to communicate certain messages.  Typography also continue to evolve to become more legible and visually appealing in itself.  One of the hallmark of modern typography is the inventing of the sans-serif.  The simplicity of the lines and balanced proportions of the lettering made the text more pleasing to the eye and easier to distinguish.  Modern typography moves towards simplicity and legibility, designing forms that comply with the way we see things to create comfort and ease.

     One famous article on the rules of typography, written by Beatrice Ward in 1932, claimed that "type well used is invisible as type".  She had claimed that the purpose of good typography is not as an artistic intent but the conveying of the message.  Bad typography is everywhere and it's easy to see.  Good typography is subtle, it fulfills its primary function, and like architecture, it's functional.


"typography, n.". OED Online. September 2012. Oxford University Press. 19 November 2012 <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/208389?redirectedFrom=typography>

"Sixteen Essays on Typography." The Crystal Goblet. World Publishing, 1956.

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