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July 28, 2012

Evolution of Typography Sample Essay

11:31 AM

Evolution of Typography
Typography is the study of type and typefaces, the evolution of printed letters. Man initially did not begin to write with type but rather with chisel, brush, and pen. Typography is basically a study of handwriting that serves as the basis for the creation of type designs.
It is important to keep in mind that the early printers were also typographers and played a pivotal role in the development of the typography. French gentleman Claude Garamond is considered to be the first independent founder of typography. Though not an inventor of moveable type, he was the first one who made type available to the painters at an affordable cost.  He used roman font of Griffo to create his own. Manutius had commissioned Griffo to develop an italic type for Aldine classics.
The Etruscans, the Copts of Egypt and the Slavonic people of Eastern Europe first inherited the alphabet. Latin writing, similar to the ealier Greek comprised of 24 letters but with significant differences. The Greek diagamma sign of w became f, and the Greek eta (h) became h. The Greek gamma for g was used in older Latin for both c and g, and the g was later differentiated from the c by the addition of a small horizontal bar (which we see in the English capital G).
Further development in typography removed the letters th, z and x. these letters x and z were later reinserted at the end of the alphabet, along with the letters v and y.
In the Middle Ages, when the letters j and w were added, the Latin alphabet increased to its present size of 26 distinct letters. Sounds were further differentiated by combining letters, such as the English sh, or by adding diacritical marks, such as the French รง.
The Greeks, Romans and the people of the Near East used two forms of letter construction
— carefully drawn letterform with squarish, separate signs, used on official documents and monuments, and less carefully drawn cursive writing with rounded, often joined symbols on less official documents.
A form of capital letter was introduced in the Middle Ages. Uncials (from the Latin, meaning “inch high”) were squarish in shape, with rounded strokes. These letters were used in Western Europe in handwritten books, in conjunction with small-letter cursive writing.
The art of typography emerged as a technique to arrange type, type designs and to modify type glyphs.  Illustration techniques were used to create and modify type glyphs.The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading (line spacing), adjusting the spaces between groups of letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning).
Modern movable type, along with the mechanical printing press, was evolved full-blown in mid-15th century Europe by the German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg. He used lead-based alloy in making type pieces in so purposeful manner that alloy is still in use. He was the pioneer who combined cheap copies of letter punches on large scale to make possible the print of multiple copies of text.  


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