• Krunal Odedra

[RR] Evolution of Typography

Type has existed ever since the primitive men’s scribbling on cave walls till day, embracing the importance of culture they had, ideology existed as well as their own existence itself. Letters have retained their forms like ‘A’ was originally inverted, but civilization changed their orientation based on their preference of writing skill and orientation of sentences, like left-to-right or right-to-left or top-to-bottom.

There are many ways ideas were represented on tablet of clay, clothe, leaf, paper few of them can be recalled as Phonograms, Ideograms, Icons, Symbols & Pictograms.

Hieroglyphs were the earliest pictograms used, each symbol means a word or an object could be wrote/read in any orientation. To identify the orientation one would observes the face of the animals on hieroglyphs. Ideograms were symbolic representation but didn’t have any particular sound associated with it like East-Asian scripts (Chinese, Japanese & Korean). Phoenician characters were the ground breaking invention in the domain of written communication. They came up with 22 magic letters where each letter had an assigned sound which can be arranged next to each other to make 1000s of words. Phoenician character lead to Latin and that to Hebrew and that to Greek and roman letters which were exactly same as today’s English characters after Greeks added vowel to the written language.

Cyrillic Languages which are modern day Russian, east European and Asian languages has 33 letters. Modern day Hebrew and Arabic have arrived from Phoenician letters again. Retain the same trait of being written left to right. Each has some set of letter which can be related to 26 existing English alphabets.

Modern day English alphabets’ uppercase letters are straight derived from roman stone carvings. Roman used letters as numbers like I meaning 1, V-5, X-10 likewise. Zero was added later to Roman culture from India, which helped with place holder number system which allowed unlimited number.

Movable printing revolutionised mass production of book, which were earlier hand written. This lead to less error prone and cost effective solution. Movable type’s letter block technique is still used in digital format, but we have additional flexibility of negative spacing i.e. overlapping of type-block could be done.

Emergence of San-Serif was not well welcomed. It was being called gothic resembling the contemporary evolving architecture style. First Sans-Serif developed by William Caslon was called EGYPTIAN.

Modernism of typeface focused on more unusual type to catch the attention of viewers. Gradually more experimentation was observed during 20th century and more legible as well readable typefaces. Google’s taken typeface to a whole together a new level, a typeface for all the language approximately 800 language across the world called NoTo.

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