T-60. The History of 19th- and 20th-Century Typography & Printing - Advance Reading List

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  • Preliminary Advices

    These readings will introduce you to the technological, cultural, and aesthetic aspects of printed letterforms and will serve as important background for our course. They may also help you prepare to do a 5-minute presentation on a typeface of your choice in the latter part of our RBS week. Many of these readings are available in multiple editions. We have intentionally not specified editions so that you will have maximum flexibility in locating these readings (don’t forget inter-library loan!). We will also share a list of videos for you as part of our workbook for the class. These videos will complement the readings below and help you prepare to engage with our class demonstrations and discussions.

  • Required Reading

    Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. Any edition. For historical synopsis, please read Chapter 1 (“The Grand Design”), Chapter 2 (“Rhythm and Proportion”), Chapter 3 (“Harmony and Counterpoint”), and Chapter 7 (“Historical Interlude”). Note: This reading is meant to introduce you to the aesthetics of typography.

    Howard, Nicole. The Book: The Life Story of a Technology. Any edition. Please read Chapter 5 (“Maturity: Books in the Age of Automation 1800-1900”) and Chapter 6 (“The Future of Books: Twentieth Century and Beyond”).

    Lupton, Ellen. Thinking with Type. Any edition. Available as an e-book. Please read “Letter” and “Text.”


  • Recommended Reading

    Updike, Daniel Berkeley. Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use. Any edition. Please read Volume I, Chapters 1–3 (“The Invention of Printing: The Cutting and Casting of Types in Relation to Their Design”, “A Font of Type and Its Case: The Typographical Point: Point-Set and Lining Types” and “The Latin Alphabet and Its Development Up to the Invention of Printing”) and Volume 2, Chapter 24, Part 7 (“Conclusion”).

  • Optional Browsing

    Kelly, Rob Roy. American Wood Type: 1828–1900. Saratoga, CA: Liber Apertus Press, 2010.

    Lawson, Alexander. Anatomy of a Typeface. Boston: David R. Godine, 2010.

    McGrew, Mac. American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1993.

    Morison, Stanley. A Tally of Types. Any edition.

    Pierpont Morgan Library. Art of the Printed Book, 1455–1955; Masterpieces of Typography Through Five Centuries from the Collections of the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York: Morgan Library, 1973. With an essay by Joseph Blumenthal.