This week we continued learning about typographic design. Although I still think that this subject should have its own separate book, I am hanging on for the connection to be made to what I view as being graphic design. There were a few aesthetically pleasing page layouts and fonts that I enjoyed, such as fonts by Aldus Manutius, Christoffel van Dyck, Louis Simonneau, and especially Pierre Simon Fournier le Jeune. I love the rococo period of French history. The floweriness and Victorian-like sensibility of the art created during that period from 1720-1770 is really pretty to look at and is capable of holding attention for a long time, as the eye traces its complex lines and jumps from one pattern to the next and sees how the patterns compliment each other.

I was also happy to find a few things that were interesting to me on the very first page of our reading for this week. The first word of chapter 5 in our text is the word Xylography- the technical term for the relief printing from a raised surface that originated in Asia.(Like Japanese Woodblock Printing!) This term would be an excellent word to use if you ever had to play the alphabet game. Everyone always picks either xerox, xylophone, or x-ray for X. This word would be impressive. I also think it was interesting that an illuminated manuscript or a hand-drawn book was worth as much as a farm or a vineyard- that’s a lot of money! And to have a private citizen own about 20 of those is really remarkable. There were some serious bibliophiles back then.

The Oldest Printing Press in the World

The Oldest Printing Press in the World! Image Credit to Adam Twardoch, Flickr

The other thing that I thought was interesting was the fact that the town of Antwerp bought the house/printing firm of the Plantin/Moretus family in 1876 and turned it into a museum. There are two printing presses there that date back almost 500 years to when Christophe Plantin himself was working there! That would be so cool to see where they worked and lived and all of the old mechanical instruments and machinery.

Leather Ink Dauber

The leather "ball" used to daub on ink. Image credit Adam Twardoch, Flickr