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Historical Types begins in 1454 with Gutenberg's experiments with moveable type and reaches as far as the Fine Press movement at the beginning of the twentieth century. Every historical example shown in the survey is the result of hand-engraved punches, hand-set type, and pages hand-printed sheet by sheet. The book explores every major development in the design of type and includes some (previously) lesser-known designers whose type designs made significant contributions to the craft. The material is divided into sections by historical period and assigned category numbers for easy reference.
The text of the book provides an excellent historical background to the study of type history, but the primary value of this book is its illustrations. Each entry consists of a double-page spread showing three-fold photographic reproductions of the relevant types - a whole page of the book to show context, an actual-size sample to show scale, and a detailed enlargement to show a closer view of the type. All of the digital photographs for Historical Types have been specially commissioned (with special lighting) to show the type samples in a totally new way, with a size, detail, and clarity not seen before. Each set of illustrations is accompanied by a detailed but concise written commentary. The book also includes an extended introduction describing the book and dealing with significant material outside the scope of the commentaries.
Historical Types stands a step above other books on the history of type because of the size and quality of its reproductions and its straightforward and clear exposition. For these reasons, it should soon become a favourite text for teachers and students of type design, as well as anyone interested in the history of the book.
Historical Types explores every major development in the design of type and includes the work of some (previously) lesser-known designers whose type designs made significant contributions to the craft.
Historical Scripts, also by Stan Knight, is an essential reference book for anyone fascinated by the history of Western letters. Knight has now devised a companion book entitled Historical Types, that promises to be equally indispensible for typophiles. While Knight covers the usual suspects - Jenson, Griffo, Garamont, Caslon, Baskerville, Bodoni - refreshingly, he also includes others of equal importance such as Simon de Colines, Miklós Kis, Johann Michael Fleischman, and Richard Austin.
What others have said about this book
Like its predecessor, Historical Types is a modest book in scale and appearance that deceptively hides a wealth of information, all of it solidly researched. Each typeface is accorded a double-page spread that shows it from three perspectives: in the context of a full page, in detail at original size, and enlarged. The accompanying text is brief but densely packed with useful information and well-informed opinion." - Paul Shaw, Codex Magazine
"It is important for designers to understand the history of letterforms so that they can contextualise the types they use today. This is true whether they are using brand-new, old, or revival typefaces. Stan Knight's Historical Types now offers the best introduction in English to this immense and challenging field." - Paul F Gehl, Custodian, John M Wing Foundation, The Newberry Library, Chicago
"Astonishingly, until now, no one has produced a book that covers the landmarks of typographic history with close-up photography, allowing us to see the detail in the letters. Historical Types is a classic, and will prove indispensible to students and professionals alike." - Professor Ewan Clayton, International Research Centre for Calligraphy, University of Sunderland
For more information on Stan Knight's book on the history of calligraphy, Historical Scripts, click here.
You can also find other books on typography here.
Special Limited Offer
Buy both Historical Scripts and Historical Types and save 12% off the list price.
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1st edition 2012, hardback, 104pp, full colour throughout, 23.5 x 31cm