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  • Typographic Firsts

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    (1 review)

    How were the first fonts made? Who invented italics? When did we work out how to print in color?

    Typographic Firsts charts the formative early history of the printed or typographic book. Many of the standard features of the printed book were designed by pioneering typographers and printers in the latter half of the fifteenth century. Although Johannes Gutenberg is credited with printing the first books with moveable type, at the height of the Renaissance printers and publishers found innovative solutions to replicate the appearance of manuscript books in print and improve on them.

    Typographic Firsts is a look at a dozen examples of the early influences and innovations that shaped the printed book and established a typographic canon.

    From the technological and practical challenges of polychromatic printing or printing music staves and notes, to the challenges of illustrating books with woodcuts, producing books for children and the design of the first fonts, these stories chart the inventions, innovations and accidents that went into creating the printed book, the world's first revolution in mass communication. The book also covers printing in gold, the first female typographers and the logistics of printing maps.

    Typographic Firsts shows how a mixture of happenstance and brilliant technological innovation came together to form the typographic and design conventions of the book we are now familiar with.

    • Hardback
    • 208 pages, 245 x 190mm
    • ISBN: 9781851244737
    • Publication March 2019
    ❝Adventures in Early Printing❞
    2018
    by: John Bordley
    Publisher: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
    ISBN: 9781851244737
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    H James Lucas

       1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

    Welcoming, clear, and richly illustrated, this is a remarkable journey through the rise of printing in the West. The chapter‐by‐chapter focus (first italics, first female typographers, first printed music, etc.) invites a natural looping through the same decades of the late 15th century that enhanced my understanding of and appreciation for that chronology. As much as I’ve loved Mark Kurlansky’s Paper: Paging Through History and Keith Houston’s The Book: A Cover‐to‐Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time (and I do love them!), Mr Boardley's restriction of focus to the Bodleian Library’s collection makes the subject matter all the more digestible.

    Typographic Firsts itself is exquisite it its design and editing. While I was sometimes wishing for more in‐line references to the illustrations, I was more often feeling awed by the simple beauty and clarity of every spread. From the typography to the margins, Mr Boardley chose well.

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