The typographer, writer, and historian of printing Beatrice Warde was educated at Barnard College, Columbia, where she developed an interest in calligraphy and letterforms.
From 1921-1925 Warde was the assistant librarian at the American Type Founders Company, pursuing her research into typefaces and the history of printing.
In 1925 she married the book and type designer Frederic Warde, Director of Printing at the Princeton University Press. The couple moved to Europe, where Beatrice worked on The Fleuron: A Journal of Typography, then edited by Stanley Morison.
Her reputation was established by an article she published in the 1926 issue The Fleuron, written under the pseudonym “Paul Beaujon,” which traced types mistakenly attributed to Garamond back to Jean Jannon of Sedan.
In 1927 she became editor of The Monotype Recorder, in London. Beatrice Warde was a believer in the power of the printed word to defend freedom, and she designed and printed her famous manifesto, This Is A Printing Office, in 1932, using Eric Gill’s Perpetua typeface.
She rejected the avant-garde in typography, believing that classical forms provided a “clearly polished window” through which ideas could be communicated.
The Crystal Goblet: Sixteen Essays on Typography (1955) is an anthology of her writings.
I first fell in love with the Garamond typeface in my first year of apprenticeship because the Ludlow Company put out a very passable version of this wonderful typeface for their typesetting machine.
Here is a short article on Claude Garamond.
Born in Paris, France, Garamond started his career out as an apprentice for the Parisian punch-cutter and printer, Antoine Augereau in 1510 . It was during this early part of the 16th century that Garamond and his peers found that the typography industry required unique multi-talented people.
This way they could produce fine books. Many of the printers during that time period were able to master all or most of the artistic and technical skills of book production from type design to bookbinding. Claude Garamond was first to specialise in type design, punch cutting, and type-founding in Paris as a service to many famous publishers.
After a decade of success with his types all over Europe, King Francois I of France demanded that Garamond produce a Greek typeface, which later became known as “Grecs du Roi”.
The three fonts were modeled after the handwriting of Angelos Vergetios, and cut the largest size first, on a 16 point body. All three original sets of Royal Greek punches are preserved at the Imprimerie Nationale in Paris, France.
In 1545 Garamond became his own publisher, featuring his own types including a new italic. His first book published was Pia et religiosa Meditatio of David Chambellan. As publisher, Claude Garamond relied on his creativity harnessed by reasoned discipline to produce superbly well crafted products.
He modeled his book publishing style after the classic works of the Venetian printers who catered to the absolute elites of high society.
He admired and emulated the works of Aldus Manutius. Garamond insisted on clarity in design, generous page margins, quality composition, paper and printing , which was always accentuated with superb binding.
Because of the soundness of Garamond’s designs his typefaces have historical staying power, and they are likely to remain the day-to-day tools of professional typographers, as long as western civilization survives.
Reading a well set Garamond text page is almost effortless, a fact that has been well known to book designers for over 450 years.
Claude Garamond’s contribution to typography was vast, a true renaissance man.
Creating perfection in the type that he crafted his life will live on through his contribution to typography.
There aren’t many typefaces as well-known or divisive as Helvetica.
“Lots of people love it. Lots of people hate it. I love it and hate it at the same time,” says Jop van Bennekom, the creative director and co-founder of Fantastic Man magazine.
Originally developed by the Swiss designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann in 1957, the font has been the subject of a MoMA exhibition and a documentary, and was the typeface of choice for many designers, among them Hedi Slimane.
But the font could be about to change, with Helvetica Now: a redesign to help it survive in the internet age.
Monotype Imaging Holdings – the world’s largest type company, which owns the licensing rights – undertook a five-year design process to update all of Helvetica’s characters.
Charles Nix, says the typeface needed to evolve to stay relevant in digital contexts. “Typefaces must cope with every manner of output and device: high- and low-res, gigantic and tiny, so looking at the technology of today and the applications that require legible text, the move to Helvetica Now is natural.
”The redesign comes after Google, Apple and other digital companies’ creation of their own, more versatile takes on the typeface that were easier to read on smaller surfaces such as an Apple Watch.
Van Bennekom says, despite its status as a modern classic, the typeface was suffering in the smartphone era. “My first reaction [to the redesign] was: ‘Oh my God?’” he says. “But so many people are interacting with design on their smartphones that Helvetica wasn’t really competing any more.”
The graphic designer Mark Farrow believes Helvetica was due a renaissance. “There was a period where it had been done to death. It was everywhere. But you can’t look at it and not think it looks great.
During the Victorian era, there was an explosion of elaborate typefaces, as foundries outdid themselves to keep up with the demand from printers for novel, splashy type.
The number and variety of imaginative typefaces generated from, say, 1870 to 1900 is astonishing. Many of them—most would agree—went too far, as type designers strove for innovation above all.
Many period fonts are difficult to decipher; some are virtually unreadable.
Wood type letter “E” from an advertisement in the October 20, 1883 issue of the newspaper, Weekly Drug News and American Pharmacist.
Engraved trade card ( Sheaff collection)
But those foundry offerings are not what concerns me here. Rather, I’ve been digging through the shoeboxes looking for examples of quirky, radical, idiosyncratic type usages, constructions (mostly) built by hand.
I’m looking at examples of extreme typography prior to 1900 or so . . . rather than at (equally interesting) later things like Russian Constructivism, Haight-Ashbury or Herb Lubalin.
Here, too, will be found some examples of type-only design solutions.
Guess what English language letter is intended by the red initial cap above (no, it is not in Yiddish)?