Group session July 1st


There’s a whole world of wonder – and mania – font land.


The point of this area is to arm you with the very most basic terms.

This is in the works

We’re not sure how we want to structure this stuff yet….

stress and contrast are high on the list.

6 major eras….  and then maybe have a few more resources that


We’ll save the history lesson for another area.

People wrote things with their hands. Sometimes we think of Cursive as “fancy” – but it wasn’t always considered that way. Cursive is actually a way to write really fast! If you couldn’t afford the massively labor-intensive book with the steady hand lettering, – maybe you could afford a scribbled one!

(figure incoming)

Wood block

First movable type


A Chinese commoner named Pi Sheng developed a movable type system during the Chi’ing-li period (1041-1048).

These were crafted by carving into clay and then hardening them in the fire. The letters were secured in place on a metal plate with a sticky mixture. They would be used as a block print, and when finished – could use heat to remove the lettings from their plate and put them away for later use.

Blackletter (aka Gothic)

In 1450 Johannes Gutenberg had invented his metal movable type printing press and started actually printing things.

Blackletter was a type of writing. There were many types – in many places. One version was called Textualis and that’s what Mr. Gutenberg followed when carving out the first printable typeface? **

So, – Blackletter. It looks like this. It’s very stern calligraphy and clearly shows the thick nib used to letter it. You can see the little serifs at the beginning and end of each stroke.

They printed the Christian Bible with it. Thanks?



Humanist (aka Venetian)


Old Style (aka Garalde)


Transitional (aka Realist)


Modern (aka Didone)


Slab Serif (aka Egyptian)


Grotesque (aka Gothic)

early 1900s


late 1900s





Silly games


Notes on books

Typographic design (5th edition) , form an communication > Historical classification of typefaces > page 38

Type matters > page 18

On Web Typography > evaluating typefaces > 22

(this is a good time to finally make that module)


Other resources:



Group session July 1st