The history of typography began with a German man, named Johannes Gutenburg. Many people know this bit of trivia, but likely in the context of him as the inventor of the printing press. Less known, perhaps, is that Gutenburg is also the grandfather of printed type, first creating a type known as “blackletter” to spare monks from the laborious task of copying texts and documents by hand. This is where Ben Barrett-Forrest’s useful little video, The History of Typography, begins. From there, it traipses through the evolution of typography, stopping along the way to discuss the roots of Roman, Caslon, Baskerville, and eventually, the advent of sans serif fonts.
The introduction of sans serif fonts was a boon to business, especially the advertising industry, which needed taller, wider, and easier-to-read prints for posters and billboards. It was also a relief for Barrett-Forrest, who spent 140 hours cutting each letter from paper by hand (see the earlier reference of monks hand-lettering type for a dash of irony). “When I broke through the 18th century, and got to the time of advertising with their big, bold Egyptian serif, and then to the 20th century, I breathed a sigh of relief,” Barrett-Forrest tells Co.Design.
The self-proclaimed type nerd had never made a stop-motion video before, but after some dissatisfaction with other typography tutorials found online, decided to make one that felt enjoyable. And it works: the video has a School House Rock-like friendliness to it, and should be considered solid educational material for anyone on day one of a graphic design course.