In the age of digital design there are literally no limits to the field of typography. Forget Comic Sans and Helvetica, the new millennium has ushered in Abril Fatface and UnifrakturMaguntia. But that doesn't necessarily mean we're experiencing the pinnacle of font making.
Some of today's type faces don't hold a candle to the handiwork of early 19th century craftsmen who created gorgeous, ornamental letters with metal, wood and a whole lot of mechanical power. And thanks to a new book from Taschen titled "Type: A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles," we can salivate over the gaudy history of roman, italic and bold type specimens of yore.
The anthology of early graphic styles surveys the typography eras before the computer, providing a beautiful overview of type artists like William Caslon, Peter Behrens and Rudolf Koch. It covers the years 1628-1938, so the entire compilation is a treasure for type face diehards. We've sampled just a few of the calligraphic masterpieces below, sourced from vintage font collector, Jan Tholenaar. Behold:
Monotype Gill Sans, The Monotype Corporation, London, 1935
Fragmente zur Reklameschrift Negativ, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1906
Internationaler Grafischer Muster-Austausch, Deutscher Buchdrucker-Verein, Leipzig, 1895
Journal für Buchdruckerkunst, Schriftgießerei und die verwandten Fächer, Johann Heinrich Meyer, Braunschweig, 1835
Drucken Sie Kataloge?, Schriftgiesserei Ludwig & Mayer, Frankfurt am Main, 1915
Specimens of Printing Types, George Bruce & Company, New York, 1848
Karneval Vignetten, Schriftgießerei und Messinglinienfabrik Otto Weisert, Stuttgart, 1908
Koralle, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1926
Blickfang Schmuck, Schriftguss AG vorm. Brüder Butter, Dresden, 1927
Salzmann-Fraktur, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1912
"Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles," edited by Cees W. de Jong, Alston W. Purvis, Jan Tholenaar, is available through Taschen.
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