Biblio-Typographica: A Survey of Contemporary Fine Printing Style

Biblio-Typographica: A Survey of Contemporary Fine Printing Style

Biblio-Typographica: A Survey of Contemporary Fine Printing Style

Biblio-Typographica: A Survey of Contemporary Fine Printing Style

Excerpt

Another book recording the work of the private presses would certainly be superfluous in the face of what has already been done. Yet I feel that the movement for fine books has progressed far enough to make a critical survey, with a thesis, worth undertaking. So I am reviewing the contemporary work in this field, tracing its features to their sources in the history of the art, and attempting to suggest its trends for the future.

Fine books may be divided into three classes. First, there are those produced by the various private presses. In these, time, expense, and salability are subordinate to beauty, and literature also is often sacrificed upon the altar of typography. The second class includes those less pretentious books in which economy is of some importance and upon the sale of which the success of the enterprise that sponsors them depends. The third class consists of those that superficially resemble the others; the would bes, the has beens, and the almosts. It seems to me that the future of book design, like that of any art, depends upon the recognition of certain realities and the rejection of superficiality in any form. Typography has been too long and too much glorified, and I believe that the art of printing books is important only when it pleasantly supplements the art of literature. Typography itself cannot be the end. Book design consists of the competent . . .

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