Trends in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Near the close of the 19th century came a new revival in the art of typography. It was led and stimulated by William Morris, an English artist, writer, and craftsman. He was unable to find types, paper, or printing that satisfied his standards. He decided to learn the art of printing.

In 1891 he founded the Kelmscott Press. He designed special types with the aid of his friend Emery Walker. Morris' books, printed by hand on handmade paper, were in the style of the finest of the early books. They were soon being imitated by a host of other private presses. Among the best of these were the Doves Press of Thomas J. Cobden-Sanderson and the Ashendene Press of C.H. St. John Hornby. Morris had an enormous influence. Among his American followers were Bruce Rogers, Daniel B. Updike, and Frederic W. Goudy.

Daniel Berkeley Updike opened the Merrymount Press in Boston in 1893. He stocked only types that met the twin criteria of economy in use and beauty of design. His books are both functional and pleasing to the eye.

Of great importance to printing in the 20th century was the designing of good typefaces for composing machines. Frederic William Goudy, the American type designer, created more than 100 faces during a long career as a printer, editor, and typographer. In 1908 he began a long association with the Lanston Monotype Corporation, for which he did much of his best work. Among his types were Forum and Trajan, which were based on the roman capital letters inscribed on Trajan's Column; Goudy Modern, his most successful text face; and a number of black-letter and display faces. Many of these were intended for the Monotype.

William Addison Dwiggins, a student of Goudy, was long associated with the publishing firm of Alfred A. Knopf, whose house style he helped to establish. Dwiggins designed a number of typefaces for the Linotype, two of which--Electra and Caledonia--have had wide use in American bookmaking. The fine types of Aldus, Garamond, and Baskerville were recut for machine use. In adapting these styles an outstanding figure was Stanley Morison of the English Monotype Company. He revived many fine old typefaces and commissioned some of the best modern ones.

During the 20th century styles in book design, as in all the arts, fine or applied, have become increasingly international. Styles born in one country spread throughout the world and die through overuse at a dizzying rate. As a consequence, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish truly individual or national styles. Books, magazines, clothes, paintings, music--regardless of country of origin--all resemble one another far more than they differ.

Sizes of Type - Measuring Width - Fonts Type Casting by Hand and by Machine

Invention and Spread of Type and Printing First Designs for Roman and Italic Types

Old-Style Types by Garamond and Caslon - Bodoni Originates Modern Types

Inexpensive Fonts - BACK TO MAIN PAGE