The topic of our first class of the semester was letterform. This was a brief history of the definition of letterform and the evolution to our current alphabet. In typography, epigraphy, paleography, calligraphy and even graffiti, letterform refers to the shape and design of individual characters—the way the characters are drawn.
A few words we learned:
- typography — the arrangement of text, letters, characters to make words visible; the art of arranging type; the design and use of letterforms/letter shapes; designed with metal letterforms or computer.
- epigraphy — the study of letterforms carved in stone or other permanent material.
- paleography — the study of writing in ancient and medieval manuscripts.
- calligraphy — the art of decorative writing, usually with pen and ink, sometimes a brush may be used.
- serif — the line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol. They look a bit like feet.
You can download a copy of the slide presentation here.
An additional resource: Origins of the Alphabet
We also viewed this view in class. It quickly sums up the topic: The History of Typography
In the comments below, what were some of your thoughts after this first class?