typography (tīpŏg´rəfē), the art of printing from movable type. The term typographer is today virtually synonymous with a master printer skilled in the techniques of type and paper stock selection, ornamentation, and composition. Before the development of typography, related arts flourished for centuries. Scribes in ancient Egypt and the Middle East perfected the craft of writing on papyrus scrolls and clay tablets. Hellenistic and Roman makers of books developed the art, which reached a peak of aesthetic perfection in the exquisite illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages (see illumination, in art). The first European typographers imitated these manuscripts, but the introduction of metal types in the 15th cent. brought about a radical transformation. Crisp and uncompromising, metal types imposed new standards of composition. A highly conservative art, modern typography adheres closely to tradition. Since legibility is of the utmost importance, the forms that print most legibly are retained. Now created on computers, new typographic styles (type faces) continue to develop, to suit myriad uses in the design of advertisements, posters, newspapers, greeting cards, almanacs, and fine books. For a list of notable type designers, see type.

See E. Gill, An Essay on Typography (1931, reprint 1988); J. R. Biggs, Basic Typography (1969); W. Chappell, A Short History of the Printed Word (1980); P. Baines and A. Haslam, Type and Typography (2002); J. Felici, The Complete Manual of Typography (2002); S. Fussel, ed., Bodoni: Manual of Typography (new ed. 2010). See also bibliography under type.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

A History of Printing: Its Development through Five Hundred Years
John Clyde Oswald.
D. Appleton, 1928
A History of the Old English Letter Foundries: With Notes, Historical and Bibliographical, on the Rise and Progress of English Typography
Talbot Baines Reed.
Faber and Faber, 1952 (New edition)
A Half-Century of Type Design and Typography, 1895-1945
Frederic W. Goudy; George L. McKay; Bruce Rogers; Frederic W. Goudy Collection (Library of Congress); Pforzheimer Bruce Rogers Collection.
Typophiles, vol.2, 1946
First Principles of Typography
Stanley Morison.
Macmillan, 1936
Printing of To-Day: An Illustrated Survey of Post-War Typography in Europe and the United States
Oliver Simon; Julius Rodenberg.
Peter Davies, 1928
Elements of Newspaper Design
Steven E. Ames.
Praeger, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Part III "Building Blocks of Typography"
In the Day's Work
Daniel Berkeky Updike.
Harvard University Press, 1924
Librarian’s tip: "The Seven Champions of Typography" begins on p. 51
Graphic Style: From Victorian to Digital
Steven Heller; Seymour Chwast.
Harry N. Abrams, 2000 (New edition)
Librarian’s tip: "New Typography" begins on p. 118
Biblio-Typographica: A Survey of Contemporary Fine Printing Style
Paul Johnston.
Covici, Friede, 1930
Type Designs of the Past and Present. with Upwards of Sixty Illustrations
Stanley Morison.
Fleuron, 1926
Executive Control Processes in Reading
Bruce K. Britton; Shawn M. Glynn.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Typography and Executive Control Processes in Reading" and Chap. 4 "Typography and Reading Strategies"
Five Hundred Years of Printing
S. H. Steinberg; John Trevitt.
British Library; Oak Knoll Press, 1996
Cyberpl@y: Communicating Online
Brenda Danet.
Berg, 2001
Books and Printing: A Treasury for Typophiles
Paul A. Bennett.
World Pub. Co., 1951
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