|Metal moveable type. Photo by Willi Heidelbach.|
Until the advent of this new technology, men dominated the typesetting field because of the weight of the big wooden trays that held the lead type. It took broad shoulders and strong forearms to carry them. The introduction of cold type in the 1960s opened the door for women, like me, and all I needed to know was how to type.
|Phototypesetting equipment prevailed throughout the|
1970s and 1980s until Apple introduced the Macintosh
and desktop publishing was born.
Eric Gill in 1926 when he painted a sign above the door of a bookstore. He was later commissioned to develop an entire family of fonts based on his design, and the story is that his font was meant to combat the "modern" faces coming out of Germany in that era, like Futura and Kabel. Gill Sans was released by Monotype Corporation in 1928 and has been a favorite of designers around the world ever since. Gill designed this face to function equally well as a text face and for display. THAT is what makes it a great font family, in my humble opinion, and it is my first font when I'm looking for sans serif body copy. I like the balance of the interletter relationships. I think it's because the capital M is based on the proportions of a square with the middle strokes meeting at the centre of that square. That gives it less of a mechanical feel than geometric sans serifs like Futura. It is a beautiful face and continues to thrive to this day, often being used to bring an artistic or cultural sensibility to projects. I truly love Gill Sans.
Herb Lubalin devised the logo concept and its companion headline typeface, then he and Tom Carnase, a partner in Lubalin's design firm, worked together to transform the idea into a full-fledged typeface. It is very modern, yet, not mechanical. The roundness of the letters lends to its readability and, like Gill Sans, works as a headline type as well as a text face.
Palatino is the name of a large typeface family that began as an old style serif typeface designed by Hermann Zapf in Frankfurt, Germany. First released in 1948 by the Linotype foundry, it would be one of the Macintosh's original typefaces when the first Apple computer appeared in the 1980s. Like Garamond, it is highly readable as text and as a headline font, but, where Garamond is elegant letterforms (think Giorgio Armani), Palatino has a softness that is welcoming to the eye (think Ralph Lauren). I adore Palatino and use it over and over.
If I were trapped on a desert island and could only have one script font, it would have to be ITC Edwardian Script. Designed by Edward Benguiat, it has a musical character quality, but is clearly a calligraphic typeface. It is truly a delicate, yet sophisticated typeface. It is reported that the characters were each drawn and redrawn until the connections of the letters was perfected to create the look of true handwriting. It's probably THE most readable script font out there.
I still purchase fonts and have a library of fonts from across the web, acquired over the years. I am a font whore. But, when I am stuck, or don't know how to begin a project, I will go to one of these typefaces to help me tell the story. It works every single time.