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Typographic Design: Form and Communication, 6th Edition by Mark Sanders, Sandra Maxa, Ben Day, Philip B. Meggs, Rob Carter

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1

The Evolution of Typography

Typography is an evolution of the written word, and as such it participates in a history of visual communication extending thousands of years. That evolution is presented here in the form of a timeline that traces a development from hand, to mechanical, to digital practice, in the context of world-historical and art-historical events.

The history treated in the first section of the 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 section covers the long era of the handpress and hand-set metal types. This period, from Gutenberg's invention of movable type to the end of the eighteenth century, lasted about 350 years. In the third section, the Industrial Revolution and nineteenth century are revealed as an era of technological innovation and an outpouring of new typographic forms. The fourth section begins with the year 1900 and covers the twentieth century, a time when type was shaped by the aesthetic concerns of modernism, the need for functional communication, technological progress, and the digital revolution in typography. The final section showcases typographic design in the twenty-first century, as it expands to mobile devices and embraces the many possibilities afforded by digital production.

From the origins of writing to Gutenberg's invention of movable type: 3150 BCE–1450 CE

c. 3150 ...

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