Typographic Firsts: Adventures in Early Printing
By John Boardley
How were the first fonts made? Who invented italics? When did we figure out how to print in color?
Many of the standard features of printed books were designed by pioneering typographers and printers in the latter half of the fifteenth century. Johannes Gutenberg is credited with printing the first books in Europe with moveable type in the fifteenth century, but many different European printers and publishers went on to find innovative solutions to replicate the appearance of manuscript books in print and improve on them throughout the Renaissance. The illustrated examples in Typographic Firsts originate in those early decades, bringing into focus the influences and innovations that shaped the printed book and established a Western typographic canon.
From the practical challenges of polychromatic printing and sheet music printing to the techniques for illustrating books with woodcuts and producing books for children to the design of the first fonts, these stories chart the invention of the printed book, the world’s first means of mass communication.
Also covering title pages, maps, printing in gold, and printing in color, this book shows how a mixture of happenstance and brilliant technological innovation came together to form the typographic and design conventions of the book.
Published by Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, 2019
Hardcover, 208 pages, 60 color plates, 7.5 × 9.75 inches