Emerging Communication

Handwritten script on paper or parchment gave way to printing. The Chinese are credited with inventing the wooden printing press and then movable clay type. Tinplate iron, developed in Bohemia (a region in central Europe), allowed printing to take hold throughout Europe.

Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg assembled his printing press. Utilizing movable and replaceable wooden or metal letters, it brought together the technologies of paper, oil-based ink, and the winepress to print books (fig. 1.6). The use of movable type lowered the cost of printing and, in turn, the price of printed materials. The general public's access to printing led to a rapid increase in the demand for paper and sparked a revolution in mass communication.

Innovations in book design emerged during the Renaissance (from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries) in the areas of typography, illustration, ornament, and page layout, as well as through new kinds of paper and printing materials. Visual communication was thus greatly advanced.


Fig. 1.6Johannes Gutenberg examining his first press proof.

In the mid-1500s Andreas Bernhart, a German paper-mill owner, was among the first tradesmen to print his name (with a decorative design) on paper wrappers to package his products. Bernhart's wrappers pointed the way to merchandising with printed designs.

Billboards and broadsides—announcements ...

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