Typography is an intensely visual form of communication. Because this visible language communicates thoughts and information through human sight, its history is presented here in chronological visual form on four timelines. This evolution is shown in the context of world events, architectural development, and art history.
The first timeline predates typography. It begins with the invention of writing over five thousand years ago and ends with the invention of movable type in Europe during the middle of the fifteenth century. The second timeline covers the long era of the handpress and handset metal types. This period, from Gutenberg's invention of movable type to the end of the eighteenth century, lasted about three hundred and fifty years. In the third timeline, the Industrial Revolution and nineteenth century are revealed as an era of technological innovation and an outpouring of new typographic forms. The fourth timeline begins with the year 1900 and covers the twentieth century, when type was shaped by the aesthetic concerns of modernism, the need for functional communication, and technological progress. In the late twentieth century, the digital revolution in typography occurred, followed by the dawning of a new century and millennium.
Note: Picture credits and further descriptive information for timeline illustrations start on page 348.