Does Paper Impact Type?

I have a lot of old paper, printing paper, some art paper. I own an old manual typewriter or two as well, and some type specifying books and catalogs from typesetters and foundries long gone.

Recently I heard about a font that was developed to use less ink making it more "sustainable".

Remember when Bell Gothic was developed?

Do you remember when we went from hot to cold type?

How does the substrate impact our types? Now that we spend at least as much time reading on a TV screen, what's happening to the words we print on paper?


When I was doing my thesis I asked some people in the industry how they were approaching the digital medium. The answer was usually that they design for paper and let the Adobe autohinter do the rest; fonts carefully crafted for screens are still a niche.

But I do suspect that in the near future the typographic divide between Latin-1 and everyone else will widen. The developing world will do its reading on smartphones and netbooks and will mostly need screen fonts; in Western Europe and much of the Americas there will still be plenty of type designed for paper.

Personally I’m really interested in working with DIY designers to build Photofonts from their various alphabets, but at this point I can’t justify spending the money to jump into that tech. Figuring out how to target bitmaps for print and web will be an interesting challenge.