History of Typography

Current Faculty: Paul Shaw

Description: This course will provide a general overview of both the history of typography and of type design in the West from the birth of printing with movable type in the mid-15th century to the advent of digital fonts in the 1980s.  It will explore the influence of scribal styles of writing on early typographic forms; the development of the “modern” typographic book in the 16th century and changes and challenges to that format in the 19th and 20th centuries; the impact of technology on the form and use of typefaces since 1800; and the shift from the book as the locus of typographic development to posters and ephemera from the 19th century to the present.

Requirements: This course is intended for those with little or no formal instruction in the history of typography.

Years Taught: 2014, 2018 (in-person), 2020 (virtual).