Class 2 – The History of Typography

The Five Families of Type
  • Old Style – Garamond
  • Transitional – Baskerville
  • Modern – Bodoni
  • Egyptian or Slab Serif – Century Expanded
  • Sans Serif – Helvetica

There are examples of these in the reading assignment listed for homework.

Typographical Anatomy

This document was handed out in class, but if you need a new copy, you may download from here. You should study this sheet and refer to it often throughout the course.

During class we reviewed some of the parts of letterforms. Here are a few terms introduced during class:

  • tracking – sometimes referred to as letterspacing, it is controlling the space between characters in a block of text.
  • kerning – the adjustment of letterspace between particular pairs of letter combinations; fitting pairs of letters closer together for a better look.
  • points – unit of measurement in typography: 72 points = 1 inch. All type is measured in points.
  • pica – typographic unit of measurement: 12 points = 1 pica; 6 picas = 1 inch; 72 points = 1 inch.
  • serif – the small finishing strokes that are added to the arms, stems and tails of characters. Serifs can improve the readability by leading the eye along the line of type.
  • sans serif – a typeface that does not have serifs.
  • font – one weight, width or style of a typeface.
  • typeface – the letters, numbers and symbols that make up a design of type. A typeface is part of a type family of coordinated designs. For example, Helvetica Bold is the typeface and is a part of the Helvetica family of type (Helvetica is the type family, Helvetica Bold is the typeface).
  • type family – the full collection of typefaces that were designed together and intended to be used together. For example, Garamond font family consists of roman, italics, semi bold, and bold weights. Combined together, these make up the Garamond type family.

The following video serves as a visual aid to the reading assignment.

In class we will be doing a bit of relief printing as we create our own letters. This video on the linocut process will give you an idea of what relief printing is. Be sure to refer to your class handout for the process we are using.

Homework Assignment

  • Read the PDF document, The History of Typography, which can be downloaded from Dropbox. Be prepared for a discussion for the next class.
  • Complete the letterform drawing worksheets that were handed out in class. Be sure to read the instructions for each section.

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