Since the invention of mechanic movable type printing by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439 typography has served both a functional and artistic purpose. Its functional definition is simply the style and appearance of printed matter. Yet, as an art form, the procedure of selecting, arranging and printing type allows artists to manipulate and play with space, form and meaning.…
The art of typography flourished during the industrial revolution and continues to evolve throughout the digital revolution. Advanced technology and computer programming allows typographers and graphic designers to experiment easily. Typography and graphic design are closely related, yet the original design of typefaces was once considered an art form of its own.
###The History of Typography
Typography is the art of creating the letters which make up a font and which result in the overall typeface, which is the style and look of a specific font. Since Guttenberg created the first typeface, Blackletter, in the 1400s, font styles have shifted and evolved with cultural trends.
William Morris, the leader of the English Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau artist, was an advocate of craftsmanship and rejected mass-production. In turn, as a reaction to the poor quality of modern printing, he set up his own printing press in 1888. His Kelmscott Press used an old hand press and popularised his decorative and sinuous style typeface.
Additionally, one of the most popular typefaces which is still used today is Helvetica and was designed by Max Miedinger in 1957 as a return to minimalism. Today we have access to a vast variety of typefaces, and so, the art of typography shifted towards the art of composition.
Typography has been popular in many modern art movements, such as Dada, Futurism and Pop Art. Typography allowed artists to take words from everyday life, such as brand names or newspaper headlines, and manipulate their meaning through the art of arrangement. Typography allowed artists to create powerful artworks that suited their manifestos or had political meaning.
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was the chief proponent for the Futurist movement. His Futurist Manifesto called for a revolution ‘directed against what is known as typographic harmony of the page’. In turn, he deconstructed traditional linear writing by scattering only nouns across the page and conveying meaning through size, weight and placement.
At Rise Art we have hand-picked some of the most exciting, powerful and playful examples of typography.
Rebecca Mason combines text and neon lights to create striking images which comment on life’s big issues. Mason injects dry humour and wit into her pieces through topics such as love, money or culture, and plays with the juxtaposition of light and dark to create though provoking works. We have an extensive collection of high-quality prints of her work.
Ursula Hitz creates maps of world cities using place names and her own fonts. The words jostle together to create visually mesmerising pieces which appear to grow and move in the same way as cities do.