Typographic Firsts: Adventures in Early Printing

£25.00
SKU: BK0152

'Offers some beautiful ornate examples to linger over, but the reader is never allowed to forget that the Renaissance book was a product of painstaking labour and mechanical ingenuity. Not to mention hard-nosed business. … for those wanting an introduction to incunables, Typographic Firsts is a visual treat.' - TLS

'This is a great book for those studying typographic history and for anyone with a love for print.' - Choice

'Profusely, gloriously illustrated, Typographic Firsts is a scholarly dive deep into the history of type.' - Communication Arts

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

Many of the standard features of printed books 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 in Europe with moveable type, at the height of the Renaissance many different European printers and publishers found innovative solutions to replicate the appearance of manuscript books in print and improve on them. 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 or printing music staves and notes to the techniques for illustrating books with woodcuts, producing books for children and 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 colour, this book shows how a mixture of happenstance and brilliant technological innovation came together to form the typographic and design conventions of the book.

John Boardley is an independent researcher and design consultant.

  • Hardback
  • 208 pages, 245 x 190mm
  • ISBN: 9781851244737
  • Publication March 2019

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