What are the Origins of the World's Most Important Typefaces
What are the origins of the world’s most important typefaces?
Who would have thought that these little letters that we type out on our keyboards could have such a colorful history? Typeface, or font, is the stylistic unity of letters used in type. We see different fonts in magazines, print, advertisement, campaigns - even in text messaging. But have you ever given much thought as to how these unique fonts came to be?
What is a typeface?
A typeface, or font, is a selection of stylistically related letters that make up a family of alphabetical letters used in typesetting. Though movable type is no longer used, the word ‘typeface’ still remains, much like the phrase ‘horseless carriage’ was used for years to refer to the automobile.
What are some of the most famous typefaces?
Helvetica, Baldoni, Times New Roman, Corona, Bodoni, Bookman, Bembo, Ariel and Helvetica are only a few of the typefaces that have been widely used in the last century.
How do typefaces get their names?
Most typefaces are named after the artist that designed them, or in tribute to an older type designer. Baldoni, Garamond and Bondoni are just a few of the fonts named after real people. But Helvetica, a very popular sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann, is not named after its designers. Helvetica is so important it even had a movie made about it! Futura is another typeface not named after an individual.
What’s behind the different typefaces we see in books and online?
The history of fonts goes back to the 15th century! In 1452, Johannes Gutenberg designed his namesake font: Gutenberg’s 42 Textura. This font was used in the Gutenberg Bible – one of the most widely read books in the whole world! This was the first mechanical moveable type (were talking a big deal here!), one of the most important inventions of the modern period that launched the Printing Revolution.
How do they come up with different fonts?
There are more fonts than we care to count (unless you’re a font enthusiast…); however, we do know that new fonts are constantly popping up. There are numerous programs online and tutorials in books that show you how to create your own unique font. Although, under United States law, typeface designs are not subject to copyright laws, typeface can be subject to design and labeling trademarks. Individuals and companies often come up with unique fonts in order to set themselves apart from the competition.
What is the oldest typeface that we still use today?
Yes, Gutenberg might be the oldest font (and it is still used in digital form), however, Claude Garamond’s Roman (designed in 1528) is the oldest and most popular font still widely used today. Created in Paris, France by Claude Garamond, we see this typeface everywhere in print advertisements, in books, and online. The reason for this is that it is considered to be the most readable and legible of all the fonts. It is characterized by its small holes in the letters ‘e’ and ‘a’. Famous texts that have used Garamond are the large picture books of Dr. Seuss and all the American editions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.
How do typefaces become famous?
Some typefaces have spent more time in the limelight than others. Such fonts, such as Gotham, have been almost branded by their users. GQ Magazine adopted Gotham as their official typeface and President Obama exclusively used Gotham during his 2008 Presidential campaign. Avant Garde (an updated form of Futura) is a true geometric font and is widely used for modern-looking text and advertisements. Courier has been gaining popularity and has become the most widely used typeface over the last 50 years. It is also the official typeface of the U.S. Government.
What type of font does my computer have?
It is a daily necessity: the computer. However, most of us don’t think twice about the default font on our computer screens. If you’re an average American, you spend 4 – 6 hours each day on the computer, which means you spend 4 – 6 hours a day absorbing this default computer font (drum roll please)….Helvetica! This font was created by Max Miedinger in 1957 in Munchenstein, Switzerland. It not only the default font on computers, it is also the most widely used Sans Serif.
What does Sans Serif mean?
In typography, a sans-serif or sans serif typeface is one that does not have the small features called "serifs" at the end of strokes. The term comes from the Latin word "sine", via the French word sans, meaning "without". Times New Roman is a good example of another widely used Sans Serif typeface. San Serif fonts are typically thought of as more modern.
What is the most widely read font in America?
Since Helvetica is the default font for PCs everywhere, most Americans spend 4-6 hours per day reading it.