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Typography, or the designing, setting, and arranging of type to produce a legible and visually pleasing page, has been important to printers since the first press was invented in the fifteenth century. Manuals or catalogs of typefaces or fonts give the printer a wide variety of choices.

Early Typography

Haimliche vnd verborgne Cancellei: wie ein gut Freundt dem andern haimliche vnd verborgne brieff, dmit sie nit so bald Jderman gelesen: durch vil seltzame Characteres vnd Practik zuschreiben mag ein kurtzer Bericht ... Getruckt zu Strassburg: Beim J. Cammerlander in der grossen Stadelgass, anno 1539.

This is a collection of forms for documents including pardons, bonds, prescriptions, contracts and permits.

François Colletet, 1628-1680.

Traittez des langues estrangeres, de leurs alphabets, et des chiffres. A Paris: Chez Iean Promé, marchand libraire, en sa boutique proche des Augustins, à l'enseigne du Cheual de Bronze, 1660.

This is a work on non-French languages, including alphabets and numerals from various countries.

Pierre Simon Fournier, le jeune , 1712-1768.

Manuel typographique utile aux gens de lettres, & à ceux qui exercent les différentes parties de l'art de l'imprimerie. A Paris: Imprimé par l'Auteur… & se vend chez Barbou, 1764-1766.

Fournier was a French engraver and typefounder. He created initials and ornaments in the Rococo style, and designed typefaces including Fournier and Narcissus. The measurement of type by the point system is Fournier's significant and enduring contribution to typography. The Manuel includes numerous specimens including a number of exotic alphabets.

Twentieth Century Typography

Of great importance to printing in the twentieth century was the designing of good typefaces for composing machines. Inspired by the classic type designers of the early days of printing, typographers invented new fonts that had the clarity and readability of the old masters but which also worked with new technology. Three type designers that stand out for their work were Bruce Rogers, Frederic W. Goudy and Hermann Zapf. Late twentieth-century typographers used older styles in new and creative ways .

Frederic W. Goudy, 1865-1947.

The Alphabet: Fifteen Interpretative Designs Drawn and Arranged with Explanatory Text and Illustrations by Frederic W. Goudy. New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1918.

World renowned type designer and printer Frederic W. Goudy designed many fonts still in use including Copperplate Gothic, Kennerley and Goudy Old Style. By the end of his life, Goudy had designed 122 typefaces and published 59 literary works. His fonts are noted for their strength, clarity and beauty. Special Collections holds a manuscript collection related to Goudy.

David Kindersley, 1915-1995.

Twelve Alphabetik Images in Colour. Linton, Cambridgeshire: Chilford Hall Press and David Kindersley's Workshop, 1983.

Self described as a "letter-cutter and alphabet designer," David Kindersley designed memorials, typefaces, tombstones, inscriptions and street signs as well as bookplates, book jackets, paper-weights and film titles. In his later life, he began designing experimental alphabets such as the ones displayed here.

A 40 Line Wood Letter Alphabet. Winchester: Alembic, 1986.

The Alembic Press has built up a collection of wood-letter fonts, and produced a variety of type specimen books and postcards featuring these typefaces. The letters are printed with all their faults, such as worm-holes and cracks.

Ornamented Types: Twenty-three Alphabets from the Foundry of Louis John Pouchée. London: I.M. Imprimit, in association with the St. Bride Printing Library, 1992-1993.

British typefounder Louis John Pouchée produced ornate decorative alphabets for posters during the early nineteenth century. His fanciful work featured flowers, fruit, animals, agricultural implements and Masonic symbols. After his shop closed, his type was sold and was eventually donated to the St. Bride Printing Library.

Bruce Rogers, 1870-1957.

The Centaur Types. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1994.

The Centaur Types, first published in the 1930s, is an important publication in the history of twentieth-century type design. In this seminal work, Bruce Rogers first showcased his most famous typeface, which he designed and cut as a revival of Nicholas Jenson's fifteenth-century typefaces.

Hermann Zapf.

Manuale Zapficum: Typographic Arrangements of Words by and about the Work of Hermann Zapf & Gudrun Zapf von Hesse… New York City: The Typophiles, 2008.

The Fine Art of Letters: the Work of Hermann Zapf, exhibited at the Grolier Club, New York, 2000. New York: Grolier Club, c2000.

Hermann Zapf is a German typeface designer. He has designed types for various stages of printing technology, including hot metal composition, phototypesetting (also called "cold type"), and finally digital typography for use in desktop publishing. His most famous typefaces are Palatino and Optima and Zapfino.

Peter Rutledge Koch.

Real Lead: Deep Drive Letterpress Printing. Berkeley: Peter Koch, Printers, 2002.

Peter Rutledge Koch has been designing and printing books and ephemera since beginning his career in Missoula, Montana in 1974. Real Lead is a humorous typographic specimen book designed to imitate the style of a fictional 19th century printing business on the Montana frontier.

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