The text has not only been made deliberately brief but we have tried not to bestrew it with too many names or dates. Only a few of the most famous typefounders, printers & publishers are mentioned in this book: and only some of the most important dates in the five hundred year period in which types have evolved from the first gothic or black-letter faces.The bones of the matter are here. It is for the student to clothe them appropriately by reading the authors already cited in the Preface, among others, and by studying as many specimens of old and contemporary types as possible.
There has never been anything sudden or spectacular in this long process of evolution. Many forces have been at work.Tradition, economics, new scientific discoveries, changes in techniques--both of papermaking and of printing--and in the fashions of the day, have all played their part in the evolution of printing types.
Roughly we may divide types into two groups: those that are used in books for continuous reading and those best reserved for the production of ephemera.The examples in this book are so divided, but from an examination of them it will be seen that anything like clearcut divisions in the groupings are virtually impossible, so many and so subtle are the variations in type designs.
The subject of type classification, the attempt to group or sort into different categories types sharing similar traits in relation to their design, has for some years been occupying the attention of various bodies & individuals. It is a large & complex one because of(1) the large number offaces extant--estimated as as many as five thousand (2) the number of type foundries operating in this country, Europe & the USA. The term 'type foundries' of course includes the makers of type composing and casting machinery (3) the fact that plagiarism has flourished in this field since the beginning.
Many of the flood of type faces which have been produced during the last thirty or forty years are fairly exact renderings of earlier classic de-