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  • The History Of Typography.

  • Type is power.

  • The power to express words and ideas visually.

  • It's timeless, but always changing.

  • And that's what we're going to explore.

  • Most people agree that the creator of typography was a German man named Johannes Gutenberg.

  • and yes he wore a hat like that.

  • Before Gutenburg came along and revolutionized the world of communication, books needed to be scribed by hand

  • usually by months which was very time consuming and expensive.

  • So Gutenburg created Blackletter, the first-ever typeface

  • modeled after the writings of scribes

  • Blackletter has thick vertical lines and thin horizontal connectors

  • which made it great for scribing but it looked very dense and squished together when printed.

  • Something needed to change.

  • Enter Roman type

  • This particular typeface is Cambria which you're probably used to seeing on your word processor.

  • But the first-ever Roman typeface was created in the 15th century by the French man Nicolas Jenson.

  • This is his typeface right here.

  • Jenson worked mainly in Venice, Italy, and was inspired by the lettering found on ancient Roman buildings.

  • His letter forms were based on straight lines and regular curves.

  • This made them very clear and legible compared to the dense darkness of Blackletter.

  • This legible new typeface was an instant success

  • and quickly spread across Europe, riding on the coattail of the Renaissance.

  • The next major innovation in typography after Roman letters was italics, which are like slanted and stylized versions of Roman type.

  • They were created in the late 15th century by Aldus Manutius from Italy as a way of fitting more letters onto the page and saving money.

  • Now we use Italics interspersed in Roman type for emphasis.

  • Aldus Manutius also created the modern comma and semi comma.

  • but that's another story.

  • Type development stayed fairly stagnant until the 18th century

  • in England when William Caslon created a typeface that set a new standard for legibility.

  • Well it wasn't anything radical. It was just what the world was looking for.

  • The style of Caslon's typeface is now referred to as old style.

  • A few decades later, another Brit named John Baskerville created a new variety of typeface which we call Transitional.

  • Later still, a French man named Didot and an Italian named Bodoni created typefaces that we've classified as Modern.

  • Most serif typefaces fit into one of these three categories

  • but what does each category mean?

  • An old style typeface has letters that have fixed serifs, and low contrast between thick and thin stroke.

  • A transitional typeface has letters with thinner serifs and a higher contrast between thick and thin strokes.

  • And a modern typeface has letters with very thin serifs, and extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes.

  • Next, William Caslon's great grandson, named William Caslon the fourth, got sick of all of these serifs

  • so he decided to remove them entirely, and made a new kind of typeface, called the Sans Serif.

  • It didn't catch on immediately, but would eventually get really big.

  • During the second industrial revolution, advertising created a need for new typefaces.

  • Letters were made taller

  • and wider, mainly used in large sizes on posters and billboards.

  • Things got pretty weird, but one happy result of all of these experimentation is Egyptian, or slab serif.

  • It has really thick serifs and it's usually used for titles.

  • As a backflash to the complexity found in typefaces of the 19th century

  • the early 20th century brought something simple.

  • Paul Renner from Germany created a typeface called Futura

  • that was based on simple geometric shapes.

  • This is called the Geometric Sans.

  • Around the same time, a British man named Eric Gill created a typeface called Gill Sans.

  • that was similar to the Geometric Sans, but with gentler, more nature curves.

  • And this is called the Humanist Sans.

  • The next major step in the world of sans serifs happened in Switzerland in 1957

  • with the introduction of Helvetica.

  • It has simple curves, and it's available in many different weights.

  • And some would call it the world's favorite typeface.

  • The world of typography changed forever with the introduction of the computer.

  • There were a few difficult years of cruel Pixel Type due to the primitive screen technology.

  • But then, technology evolved, and the computers begin to allow for the creation of thousands of beautiful typefaces.

  • And the odd..um..done.

  • But now anyone has the freedom to create their own unique typeface.

  • And that, is the history of typography.

The History Of Typography.

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The History of Typography - Animated Short

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    Vicky posted on 2014/08/11
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