Creating Grand Gargantua
MOVABLE TYPE: perhaps nowadays few will know the exact meaning of these two words, but until the middle of the twentieth century a letter was a small piece of lead, and to use it for printing you literally had to move it around, by hand. In the 20th century big machines like the Monotype, equipped with keyboard, were used for typesetting; but until 1900 all type was set by typesetters, by hand. This simple object: a piece of lead with a letter on top, formed the central part of Gutenberg's invention, back in the middle of the 15th century.
To cast letters Gutenberg and all of the printers and type foundries that followed him used matrices. To make matrices you first had to cut punches, and the punch was the instrument where art and business met. The punches were made of steel — a little softer than today's steel — that was cut with a sharp steel knife or an engraving tool. But still, to cut a letter on top of a very small piece of steel, and to do so with such precision and consistency required extraordinary skill. Remember the magnifying glass had not yet been invented and even eye glasses were very rare. To create the complete sets of more than a hundred different punches with letters, abbreviations, and other typographical signs that were all of the same size, all of the same design, and all equally pleasing to the eye when viewed en masse — it seems hardly conceivable that people were able to do just that. But they did it, and with results that we use up to this very day. The type designs we call roman are the grandchildren of one of the most beautiful romans ever created — a type created in about 1470 by the Frenchman Nicolaus Jenson, who was then working in Venice.
Roman, type 1, used by Jenson in De Proprietate Sermonis. Venice, 1476.
In the 15th century each printer made (or at least owned) his own type designs. At the end of the century specialist punchcutters started to trade in matrices and later also in type. Type design soon became the job of specialists, and if you look at 15th and early 16th century type you can easily see its development from modest albeit interesting beginnings to it becoming a great art. Many of the great type designs were created before 1550. These designs imitated the most elegant writing of their day, following the letters that were written by great humanists for kings. Scholars like Poggio imitated Carolingian handwriting, mistakenly attributing these manuscripts to antiquity, when in fact they were products of the ninth century.
Carolingian minuscule, 9th century. Initials and ornaments
Until the 18th century and for brief periods in the 19th and early 20th century, books were often decorated with initials and ornaments. The earliest printed books were decorated by hand, like their written ancestors; but soon printers began to use little woodcuts that could be used year after year in thousands of copies.
Initials by the famous 16th century French printer Estienne, and his two Basle colleagues Froben & Oporinus. Grand Gargantua
And so a grand project begins: with John (the editor of this blog), we are building a website to bring these rare treasures to everyone. Grand Gargantua — a history of typography will chart the course of typography from the incunabula. For some time, I have been photographing (in high resolution) books of the Amsterdam Special Collections, and uploading them to Flickr. Grand Gargantua will take this one step further, by organising and tagging these very high-resolution images, in addition to providing some commentary and historical perspective.
Our grand plan for Grand Gargantua is to gather some 50,000 samples in the next five or six years. We hope that you will follow us in our adventures. When we started out we had a small group of specialist book historians in mind as our audience, certainly not designers. But we soon discovered that many designers were interested in our work. For them we are creating an extra collection of examples of early book design. Here we will display pictures of pages and books from the 15th-19th century, sometimes accompanied by commentary. We are touched by this interest in the historical roots of a tradition that today is as alive and vigorous as it was all those centuries ago.
游客ReviewFS Emeric字体：一款令人愉悦的新字体font article没看看有这款字体啊
我在这儿Review网页设计中的艺术字体设计与排版（1）font article很好 值得学习
游客Review免费商用中文字体有哪些？font article新蒂字体 授权使用： 无需备案免费使用的情况： 在个人电脑上安装、打印个人文档、个人网站、博客、微博配图 需要备案免费使用的情况： 设计有可能商用的稿件（在商用时购买商业授权）、用于免费提供给他人的印刷品（印量在500份以内，且无需获得印刷品行政许可）的情况、用作没有品牌冠名的公益广告、用作完全免费（不能含有收费项目）的软件及网络服务。 需要购买个人授权的情况： 个人网店的装饰、个体商...