Typographical Explorations

I had such as great time taking the History of Typography course with Paul Shaw back in August that I acquired a few more books to add to my collection of books about typography. Several of these books are more like art books where I can browse through them randomly, rather than read them cover to cover.

One aspect of typography that I am most interested in is the philosophy behind why a printer would choose a certain type for a project. Was there a reason why he or she thought that this specific type would evoke a certain emotion or connection to the  content of the text for the reader? Not having had any design courses myself, I am curious how these decisions are made.

I can certainly look at the chosen type on certain fine press books and connect with the feeling that the type evokes and how that connects to the content. I’m thinking of William Morris and the Kelmscott Type as an obvious example of the ornate design and bold type that draws you into the page. How does a printer know what is going to work best with the content he or she is printing?  Some of this may be connected to history and societal memory associated with a certain typeface.

[I made a note during the class to see if I could find any research written about the connection between typography and linguistics because there seemed to be examples where the language in the written text was shortened or altered as a result of the type that was available at that press or by the restrictions of the printing process itself. Did these alterations in language jump from the printed text into adopted slang or change the spoken word as a result? That’s a question for another day.]


I especially enjoyed reading Blackletter: Type and National Identity by Paul Shaw and Peter Bain. I will be on the lookout for similar typographical studies as they connect to sociology and history (my academic background).

I’ll post pictures below of some of my newer acquisitions for my collection of typography resources.

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