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Definition: Typography from The SAGE Glossary of the Social and Behavioral Sciences

The art and design affecting the appearance of type on the printed page, notably the font chosen, its size, and the spacing of text. Spacing between text is particularly important in poetry, advertisements, and art books. Traditionally practiced by a typesetter working with metal type, most publishers now compose, type, and lay out pages using computers.

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Summary Article: typography
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(tīpŏg'rӘfē), the art of printing from movable type. The term typographer is today virtually synonymous with a master printer skilled in the techniques of type and paper stock selection, ornamentation, and composition. Before the development of typography, related arts flourished for centuries. Scribes in ancient Egypt and the Middle East perfected the craft of writing on papyrus scrolls and clay tablets. Hellenistic and Roman makers of books developed the art, which reached a peak of aesthetic perfection in the exquisite illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages (see illumination, in art). The first European typographers imitated these manuscripts, but the introduction of metal types in the 15th cent. brought about a radical transformation. Crisp and uncompromising, metal types imposed new standards of composition. A highly conservative art, modern typography adheres closely to tradition. Since legibility is of the utmost importance, the forms that print most legibly are retained. Now created on computers, new typographic styles (type faces) continue to develop, to suit myriad uses in the design of advertisements, posters, newspapers, greeting cards, almanacs, and fine books. For a list of notable type designers, see type.

  • See Gill, E. , An Essay on Typography (1931, reprint 1988);.
  • Biggs, J. R. , Basic Typography (1969);.
  • Chappell, W. , A Short History of the Printed Word (1980);.
  • P. Baines; A. Haslam, Type and Typography (2002);.
  • Felici, J. , The Complete Manual of Typography (2002);.
  • Fussel, S. , ed., Bodoni: Manual of Typography (new ed. 2010). See also bibliography under type.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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