History of Typography
In the 19th century there was a reduction in price of printing material. This enabled people to read, which allowed a democracy. (You can’t have a modern democracy if people can’t read). This reduction in price, lead to several things:
A rise in advertising- they saw posters competing in public. A visual noise shown in the painting by John Orlando Pary of a London street scene:
Both artists and writers saw this and were inspired. They turned to each other’s craft to enhance their work. Artists used words within their work, such as the collages by Picasso and Braque. Symbolist poetry came from writers reading the newspaper and seeing a contrast in the words about a variety of subjects.
Modernsim & Post-Modernism
“From the end of the 19th century, modernism was shaped by the industrialisation and urbanisation of western society. It marked a departure from the rural and provincial towards cosmopolitan, rejecting or overthrowing traditional values and styles as functionality and progress became key concerns as part of an attempt to move beyond the external physical representation of reality as depicted by cubism and the bauhaus.”
Around the 1st World War, the western world was politically heated. Dadaism and the Constructivists came out of this time. Dadaists opposed the traditional beliefs of a pro-war society.
During the communist revolution, the art movements within this were the Futurists in Italy and the Vorticists in Britain. Their work represented the breaking up of the old world.
“Constructivism began as a Soviet youth movement. The Russian Revolution of 1917 involved many Russian artists, who combined political propaganda and commercial advertising in support of the new communist revolution.”
In the 1920’s, rules were written by Modernists and new typefaces were invented. This occurred at the rise of Fascism. Herbert Bayer was a designer who came up with the ‘Universal’ typeface, that he planned to be used by everyone, in a way of re-writing tradition. By changing what the world looks like, people are introduced to the new as it surrounds them in everyday life. This typeface at the time was extremely new and surprising.
“Bayer’s Universal typeface was developed at the Bauhaus and is a reduction of Roman forms to simple geometric shapes. The circular form features heavily, and you can see how each character is closely based on the others.” – The Fundamentals of Creative Design by Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris
“New Typography uses white space to create visual intervals in an asymmetrical layout. An underlying grid unifies the page. Personal expression is rejected in favor of order and clarity. The predominant graphic design style in the world by the 1970s, the Swiss style is recognizable by its strong reliance on typography, usually sans serif type in flush left alignment.”
Late Modernism occurred in the economic boom in the 1950’s. Wim Crouwel’s posters from 1960’s-1980’s have a similar appearance to design now:
Matt Willey- contemporary designer
“Post-Modernism developed following the Second World War and questions the very notion that there is a reliable reality through deconstructing authority and the established order of things by engaging the idea of fragmentation, incoherence and the plain ridiculous.
Post-Modernism returned to earlier ideas of adornment and decoration, celebrating expression and personal intuition in favour of formula and structure.”
Fuse magazine, founded by Neville Brody and John Wozencroft
An example of Post-Modernism, the designers expressed their imagination across the pages. Sometimes readability was compromised, as form reigned over function. The magazine was produced at the time when computer technology allowed designers to experiment with new tools.
Automation is a phrase that is used to describe the transition from the old skilled job (for example, of typography) to the present digital age where the digital design tools are available to anyone.
“On 31 March, 2017, Gilbert Baker the creator of the iconic Rainbow Flag sadly passed away. Mr. Baker was both an LGBTQ activist and artist, and was known for helping friends create banners for protests and marches. To honor the memory of Gilbert Baker, NewFest and NYC Pride partnered with Fontself to create a free font inspired by the design language of the iconic Rainbow Flag, the font was named ‘Gilbert’ after Mr. Baker.” This is one of the world’s first coloured fonts.
“The colour combinations are blended on letters to represent the ‘open and fluid communities’ that make up LGBTQ.” (from The Fundamentals of Typography 3rd edition)