What I found really interesting about the period of history that we’ve covered in our last lecture is the establishment of the Gothic typeface and it’s influence on the development of the posterior typefaces. This typeface is characterized by its dramatic thin and thick strokes, as well as the use of swirls on the serifs. Gothic, also known as Blackletter, typeface initially appeared from the ancient manuscripts like Ormesby Psalter (ca. 1300) and Utrecht book of hours (ca. 1470). However, it’s first appearance in a printed form occurred only about 500 ago. Johannes Gutenberg’s 42 line bible (ca. 559) featured the Biblical texts written in Gothic typeface in flawless execution. No wonder it was perceived as a product of witchcraft in the beginning. Later printed examples featuring the black letter typeface include The Mainz Psalter (ca. 1457) and Ars Moriendi’s ‘Art of Dying’ (ca. 1466) which was printed with the wood blocks.
Later as the black letter typeface spreader across the Europe it soon ran into the Roman typeface, which was created by two German clerics, Sweynheym and Pannartz, who were inspired by antique Roman and Greek manuscripts. The Italian style was unique for it’s more rounded minuscules and softer features.
After the Roman typeface spreaded far beyond Italy, an English printer, William Caxton, was inspired to created new type face called ‘bâtarde’, which is a combination of both Roman and Gothic typefaces. This demonstrates an example of how more and more new typefaces were created due to the inspiration from the past.