Typography has a long and rich history with roots spanning as far back as the dawn of civilization, but there are a few key historical events that’s handy to know in order to understand why modern typography is the way it is now.

Ben Barrett-Forrest’s 5-minute film, The History of Typography – Animated Short, courses through the key events that have shaped the art and science of typography. The film starts with the first typeface (i.e. Blackletter).

It’s interesting to see that the evolution of typography always seems to be an indirect result of solving specific needs. For example:

  • Roman type became popular because Blackletter was hard to read
  • Italics was a result of the need to fit more text in pages to save on printing costs
  • Slab serifs came about because there was a need for taller, wider (i.e. more visible) typefaces for print advertisements like posters and billboards

The video was done in the paper-letter animation style, and required 140 hours of work, over 290 paper letters and more than 2,400 photographs to produce.

The History of Typography – Animated Short (YouTube)

Author:

Jacob Gube is the co-founder of Design Instruct. Join him on Twitter @sixrevisions