Book review: The Visual History of Type
The history of type can be traced back to the advent of printing in the mid-fifteenth century. In the early days type foundries would cast fonts in lead alloys with wood serving as the material for some larger fonts during the nineteenth-century.
The mechanisation of typesetting in the 1890s allowed for continuous casting, which remained widespread until the 1970s, and some experimented with phototypesetting which utilised tiny high-resolution images of individual glyphs on a film strip. However, since the 1980s, the digital type has remained the more dominant form.
The Visual History of Type sets out to fully explore the story of type from its advent to the present day. Author Paul McNeil, a graphic designer and a senior lecturer in typography at the London College of Communication, looks at the art and craft of designing a typeface. He examines every major typeface, with an emphasis on the direct, faithful representation of 320 key historical type designs presented in their original specimens.
If, like the design and branding team at Spinach, you have a love for type design and are fascinated by its rich history, then The Visual History of Type is a must read. The book will appeal to all creatives, educators, historians and students of design.
It is also a fascinating coffee table book for the general reader interested in the history of communications and visual culture.
Images © Laurence King.
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