Indices : Blackletter : Textura

A style of Blackletter. Also called Gothic or Gotisch.

By the 1100s, scriptoriums in and around Paris had so altered Carolingian Minuscule that the lettering styles of the day no longer bore any resemblance to those of c.800. This geographic area—Paris and its environs—held the avant garde of the mid-1100s onwards. The 1140s, for instance, saw the creation of the Gothic style of architecture in St. Denis, a Parisian suburb.


Indices : Typefaces : Century

Theodore Low DeVinne (1829—1914), printer of The Century magazine, designed a stronger, bolder and more readable face for the magazine and commissioned Linn Boyd Benton (1844—1932) of ATF to cut it.

L.B. Benton cut it on the newly invented Benton punch-cutting machine and in 1895 was christened Century Roman. Afterwards, a companion face was created for ATF by L.B. Benton: Century no. 2, later called Century Broad-face.

This face became the basis for Century Expanded, designed by L.B.’s son, Morris Fuller Benton (1872-1948) in 1902. Over the course of three more years, the italic, bold and bold italics were developed.

FF Meta

Indices : Typefaces : FF Meta

PT 55, the design that would later become FF Meta, was devised by Erik Spiekermann for the German Post Office (Deutsche Bundespost) in 1985. The Post Office, who was using Helvetica at that time, cancelled their commission at the last minute. Spiekermann’s design went into hibernation. Interestingly enough, the post office did eventually change their corporate face—to Frutiger, which they still use today.


American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the professional association for design, is committed to furthering excellence in design as a broadly-defined discipline, strategic tool for business and cultural force. AIGA is the place design professionals turn to first to exchange ideas and information, participate in critical analysis and research and advance education and ethical practice.

The AIGA has chapters in most major US cities.



Indices : Terminology : Lowercase

Lowercase characters evolved from several hand written or cursive letterforms. Some of the most notable are various Uncial forms and those of the carolingian minuscule. As the handwritten characters evolved, they developed ascenders and descenders that extended beyond the Baseline and x-height. Larger characters, often differing in form from the smaller characters, were used to demarcate important names or the beginnings of pages or sections. These larger characters were often based on lapidary forms.

Word Shape

Indices : Terminology : Word shape

Word shape is the overall visual impression of the outer boundary of a given word. Word shape is attributed as one of the key factors in readability and is widely considered the reason that Lowercase words are more readily recognizable than their Uppercase equivalent. The belief is that because uppercase words always have a rectangular word shape they are less distinct than lowercase words which have a varying word shape, given definition by ascenders and descenders that create unique, and therefore more recognizable shapes.


Indices : Terminology : Bouma

Bouma: a hypothesized visual-syntactic atom of immersive reading; almost always the blurry notan of a string of letters; usually the blurry outline of a single word in the parafovea. The term is a simplification of “Bouma-shape” as used by Insup Taylor and/or Paul Saenger, derived from Herman Bouma, a [retired] Dutch scientist.

Most cognitive psychologists reject this hypothesized importance of the bouma in reading, immersive or otherwise. The dominant reading model in cognitive psychology is the parallel letterwise recognition model. Research experiments which would have different predicted outcomes for the two different theories have supported parallel letterwise recognition over the bouma theory.


Capital letters, also called Majuscule or Uppercase are derived from inscriptional forms of the alphabet which the Romans adopted from the Etruscans. One distinguishing featue of capital letters is that they are of uniform height; the absence of ascenders or descenders (generally) is another feature of the upper case. These inscriptional forms of the alphabet were also the basis for several writing hands that followed, including square capitals and Uncial lettering.

Capital letters are a feature of the Greek, Roman, Armenian and Cyrillic Alphabets. These alphabets are classified as Bicameral because they do contain two distinct cases.


Indices : Terminology : Em

Pronounced like it is spelled, an em is a measurement equal to the current point size. An em dash is a dash the width of the given em. Because “em” and “en” sound so much alike, the em is sometimes referred to as the “mutton.”

See the related en.

The Em

Additional Articles:
The Em, by Cyrus Highsmith.

The website is an eternally evolving not-for-profit typography project founded by David John Earls in 1999. Its original incarnation was in a magazine format, covering interviews, software reviews and tutorials from a range of contributors. Later, it turned into a typography news website that prided itself on the speed of updates – back then the website was being updated on a nearly daily basis. During its third and current fourth phase, it is a collaborative project between David and Yves Peters – David providing recent typography news with commentary, and Yves writing comprehensive reviews of the cream of recent typeface releases.

Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection

Indices : Libraries : Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection

The Rochester Institute of Technology Wallace Library is home to the Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection, curated by David Pankow. The Cary Collection is one of the country’s premier libraries on the history and practice of printing. In 1969, the Cary Collection was presented to RIT by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust as a memorial to Mr. Cary. Today the library houses some 20,000 volumes and a growing number of manuscripts and correspondence collections. Also included are impressive holdings on bookbinding, papermaking, type design, calligraphy and book illustration. The goal of developing the digital image database is to enable users all over the world to sample the wealth of rich materials housed in the collection.

St. Bride Printing Library

Indices : Libraries : St. Bride Printing Library

The St Bride Printing Library is located in London, England. It is one of the largest libraries of printing history in the world. It’s collection particularly surveys British printing and typographic works from the 19th and 20th centuries. Its reading room is open to the general public.

The Friends of St Bride has been organizing annual conferences in the library every autumn since 2002. These have all had a typographic focus. Past conference themes have included Hidden Typography, Bad Type and Temporary Type.

FAQ Font Sharing

Wiki Categories: 

Indices : FAQs : Font Sharing

What About Sharing Fonts?
Graphic Designers and computer users often ask, “what’s wrong with sharing font files?” The truth is that there may not be anything wrong with the situation. But the answer to the question requires much thought and consideration.

Fonts are software, and software is generally used according to terms set out by its author. If the author does not want anyone to ever use his software under any circumstances, he probably will never share it with anyone. But, should he choose to let it out into the world, he would be wise to consider how he would like to to be used.

Johann Gutenberg

Indices : Designers : Johann Gutenberg

A man of mystery. Sadly, very little is known about him. His real name was probably Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden, but he most likely went by a series of nicknames, such as “Henchen” or “Elle”. “Gutenberg” was the name of one of his family’s houses within the city of Mainz, Germany.

Born into an aristocratic family, Gutenberg was not an aristocrat himself (his father married a commoner). It is not known when Gutenberg was born. Around 1900, the city of Mainz decreed his birthdate to have fallen in June 1400, allowing them to throw a big summer party in his honor. Gutenberg died in 1468 in Eltville, up the Rhein from Mainz.

Nicholas Jenson

Indices : Designers : Nicholas Jenson

Typefounder, born 1420 in France.

During the 1450s, Charles VII sent Nicholas Jenson to Mainz, Germany to learn the art of printing. There he became an apprentice to Johann Gutenberg.

After a nasty civil war in 1462, most of Mainz’s printers left the city. Many of them travelled to Italy, including Jenson—who ended up in Venice before 1470. There, he cast his famous type, which might be the first non-Blackletter type ever cast in the west.

Jenson died in Rome in 1480.

Carolingian Minuscule

Indices : History : Carolingian Miniscule

Sometimes called Caroline.

Around 800, Charlemagne—king of the Franks and the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire—decided that all his lands should write out their Latin texts with the same handwriting style (even though he himself was illiterate). His court scholars developed a hand, which was loosely inspired by a variety of Uncial styles. This has been called Carolingian Minuscule by historians, and it looks almost identical to our current lowercase Latin alphabet.

During the Renaissance (c.1465), two German printers, Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, were hired by a monastery in Subiaco, Italy.