Typography as Vehicle of Science

3 February 2022


Gerard Unger


Ton Brouwers

Janu­ary 22, 2022 would have marked the 80th birth­day of graph­ic and type de­sign­er Ger­ard Un­ger. Of all the older gen­er­a­tion ty­po­graph­ers who had suc­cess­fully transitioned in­to the 21st cen­tury, Un­ger was per­haps the most open to ex­per­i­ments and the most genu­inely ac­cept­ing of al­tern­at­ive view­points both in type design and in sci­en­ce. In a con­ser­vat­ive pro­fes­sion­al en­vir­on­ment prone to over­es­tim­at­ing tra­di­tion, it is a vi­tal qual­ity for the de­vel­op­ment of type design and the trans­fer of know­ledge to new, young­er gen­er­a­tions.Ger­ard Un­ger’s in­aug­ur­al ad­dress at Leiden Uni­versity (where on March 16, 2007 he was ap­poin­ted pro­fess­or of ty­po­graph­ic design) came out in Am­s­ter­dam as a book­let in Eng­lish and Dutch. To hon­or the memory of a dearly loved de­sign­er, we are pub­lish­ing his ad­dress with kind per­mis­sion of his heirs. — Ed­it­or­i­al board

Ad­dress de­livered at the ac­cept­ance ce­re­mony of  the pro­fess­or­ship in Ty­po­graph­ic Design, sponsored by the Dr. P.A.Tiele-sticht­ing, at Leiden Uni­versity on March 16, 2007

Chris Ver­maas, Ger­ard Un­ger and Ber­til Aren­ds at­tend Un­ger’s PhD gradu­ation ce­re­mony at Leiden Uni­versity. Septem­ber 2013•Mac­Siers Ima­ging

Of all the evil on the earth
this is the greatest pain:
Who once has learned to read,
can nev­er give up again. Koos J. Ver­steeg

Ty­po­graphy is a won­der­ful and tested vehicle for re­cord­ing views and ideas and send­ing them out in­to the world. As a sci­en­ce, however, ty­po­graphy is much more than just a vehicle, and as a pro­fes­sion ty­po­graphy is more than a purely in­stru­ment­al af­fair, to me at least. As a ty­po­graph­er and a type de­sign­er I am con­stantly think­ing of the read­ers. Of course, au­thors are im­port­ant and as a de­sign­er you rep­res­ent their in­terests, but you equally rep­res­ent the in­terests of read­ers. Ty­po­graphy is also a so­cial tool. I con­sider it a chal­lenge to get people to read who cur­rently do not read, and to help read­ers gain ac­cess to vari­ous sorts of know­ledge and opin­ions, so they can make their own de­cisions and de­vel­op their own views.

Free­dom of speech is not pos­sible without the free­dom of read­ers to have ac­cess to know­ledge and opin­ions. In this coun­try every­one is ba­sic­ally free to ex­press, pub­lish, and dis­sem­in­ate any view or opin­ion (some min­im­al re­stric­tions ap­ply; it is il­leg­al, for in­stance, to of­fend the queen). Moreover, read­ers can freely choose the texts they want to read. In many parts of the world, however, hav­ing such choice is not a giv­en.

Read­ing is a fun­da­ment­al skill and this is un­likely to change in the fore­see­able fu­ture. This aware­ness must have promp­ted Unicef in 2005 to dis­trib­ute an ad­vert­ise­ment with a photo of ten-year-old Sham­ila from Afgh­anistan. The Unicef ad has her say: ‘Nobody will fool me any­more, for I can read now. For­tu­nately I go to school, but many oth­er girls don’t as of yet.’ Read­ing has equipped her with the power to judge for her­self, and many more girls should go to school in or­der to ac­com­plish the same. Read­ing is be­nefi­cial.


The concept be­hind this cam­paign ap­pears to hook up with an earli­er no­tion of read­ing, which in the second half of the nine­teenth and the first half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury was di­li­gently pro­moted by, among oth­ers, the so­cial­ists: read­ing con­trib­utes to el­ev­at­ing the work­ing classes. Read­ing helps work­ers to move up in so­ci­ety, bring them prosper­ity, make them more crit­ic­al, bring cul­ture with­in their reach, and so on. To this end, pub­lish­ing houses were set up that fo­cused on qual­ity and af­ford­able books. The Wereld­bib­lio­theek (World Lib­rary), set up in 1905, served as the Dutch coun­ter­part of Eng­land’s Every­man’s Lib­rary, com­mit­ted not only to is­su­ing first-rate texts, but also to qual­ity book design.1 Such ini­ti­at­ives went hand in hand with the on­go­ing mech­an­iz­a­tion of the graph­ic in­dustry, which fa­cil­it­ated the pro­duc­tion of print in ever lar­ger edi­tions against de­clin­ing rates.

The Dutch news­pa­per Het Volk star­ted out in 1900, to con­tin­ue as Het Vrije Volk in 1945. This is the news­pa­per we read at home. Of course, dur­ing the Second World War so­cial­ist news­pa­pers (and oth­er ones) were gagged, which sug­gests a dif­fer­ent take on read­ing: it is bad for you, if not dan­ger­ous. Start­ing your own news­pa­per or pub­lish­ing house al­lows you to ex­pose read­ers to in­form­a­tion you deem suit­able for them, as a coun­ter­bal­ance to pub­lic­a­tions that of­fer un­de­sir­able read­ing mat­ter. The Ro­man Cath­ol­ic Church un­der­stood this prin­ciple long ago already, which is why it es­tab­lished its In­dex Lib­ror­um Pro­hib­it­or­um, a list of pro­hib­ited books. It did so in 1529 and first in the Neth­er­lands be­cause of the Re­form­a­tion. Un­til as re­cently as 1966 this In­dex has been in use, and today read­ers are still con­trolled to some ex­tent in many coun­tries throughout the world.

The Every­man’s Lib­rary series was the ini­ti­at­ive of L. Si­mons (1862–1932) launched with the sup­port of the So­ci­ety for the Dif­fu­sion of Qual­ity and Af­ford­able Read­ings. The pub­lish­er, Joseph Dent (1849–1926), did not have a polit­ic­al agenda, he simply wanted to make read­ing af­ford­able for every­one. In his auto­bi­o­graphy, he wrote, ‘my fixed de­term­in­a­tion was to make it a demo­crat­ic lib­rary at the demo­crat­ic price of one shil­ling’ (Dent, J. M., The Mem­oirs of J. M. Dent, Lon­don, 1928, p. 126)•Lib­rary for for­eign lit­er­at­ure

The ef­fort to pro­mote read­ing and pub­lic edu­ca­tion has defin­itely raised the level of know­ledge among the pop­u­la­tion, which in turn serves as basis for de­vel­op­ing autonom­ous views and mak­ing in­di­vidu­al choices. For many, ob­vi­ously, this has con­trib­uted to an im­proved life, with more edu­ca­tion, bet­ter em­ploy­ment, and a high­er stand­ard of liv­ing. But many or­gan­iz­a­tions act­ive in the ad­vance­ment of read­ing have sim­ul­tan­eously tried to push their polit­ic­al or re­li­gious con­vic­tions. Even though it may not have al­ways been their aim to have in­di­vidu­als de­vel­op their own views and opin­ions, once they can read and choose and com­pare what they read it is in­ev­it­able they start think­ing for them­selves. Soon­er or later this is bound to res­ult in the for­mu­la­tion of fresh views and new opin­ions, as well as per­haps the aban­don­ing of the par­tic­u­lar bi­as of the or­gan­iz­a­tions that pro­moted read­ing in the first place.

After 1945 much ef­fort was put in­to build­ing a new so­ci­ety, in­clud­ing a de­cent edu­ca­tion for all cit­izens and a free, hon­est press. The res­ult is a very high level of prosper­ity in many West­ern coun­tries – in ma­ter­i­al terms at least. However, from a spir­itu­al angle there may be less well­be­ing, while in re­cent years so­cial co­he­sion has come in­creas­ingly un­der pres­sure. Moreover, cer­tain so­cial groups ap­pear ever harder to reach, and more people seem to have no in­terest in read­ing and have trouble ar­tic­u­lat­ing co­her­ent opin­ions.

How do texts end up with the people who need them and who can really use them? How do we get those in­di­vidu­als to read who did not grow up in a fam­ily where read­ing was com­mon and who did not get much from school either? It seems as if au­thors and ty­po­graph­ers are al­to­geth­er power­less in such case. There is but one solu­tion: ex­pos­ing these non-read­ers some­how to a di­versity of views and opin­ions. Does the in­ter­net of­fer a solu­tion here? Those who can­not or do not read pa­per doc­u­ments are likely to avoid read­ing from a screen as well. And those who use the in­ter­net a lot gen­er­ally do so to find like­minded people. If it will not work to ex­pose people to a range of views through read­ing or show­ing, with im­ages and sounds, per­haps it will work on the basis of face-to-face in­ter­ac­tion. Al­though em­ploy­ment and im­proved ma­ter­i­al and so­cial cir­cum­stances are cer­tainly cru­cial, the same ap­plies to a wide avail­ab­il­ity and di­versity of opin­ions in so­ci­ety.

More than once I have run up against the cri­ti­cism that when it comes to the ba­sic ne­ces­sit­ies of life, design is not one of them. The un­der­ly­ing sug­ges­tion is that only con­tent mat­ters, not how this con­tent reaches read­ers. I strongly dis­agree of course: good, bal­anced, and com­mit­ted ty­po­graphy is more im­port­ant than ever. You can­not con­quer in­dif­fer­en­ce by means of in­dif­fer­en­ce.

We would hope Sham­ila, the girl in the ad­vert­ise­ment, will achieve her goals in­deed. Hope­fully many more girls from her coun­try will at­tend school, to learn to read well and make genu­ine choices on their own.

One of my in­struct­ors at the Kun­st­nijver­heidsschool (School of Ap­plied Arts) in Am­s­ter­dam, Theo Kur­per­shoek, had me as first-year stu­dent en­roll in a course on op­er­at­ing the Mono­type machine. Mono­type ma­chines were much used for type­set­ting books and you could get spe­cial type designs for them. This gave me a sol­id entry in­to ty­po­graph­ic prac­tice. Theo Kur­per­shoek also in­tro­duced me to the Ty­po­graph­ic Lib­rary of Lettergieterij Amsterdam. This marked my entry in­to the­ory, and, surely, it proved a rev­el­a­tion: ty­po­graphy as sci­en­ce vir­tu­ally com­plete, books as vehicles of their own sci­en­ce. At the time when I reg­u­larly vis­ited this lib­rary, mostly af­ter­noons, the door­keep­er, mis­ter Moen, would call the lib­rar­i­an upon my ar­rival, after which I was al­lowed to go in. At my third vis­it or so I over­heard the lib­rar­i­an say­ing on the phone: ‘He is here again.’ A few minutes af­ter­ward Prof. Dr. G.W. Ovink (1912–1984), who was in charge of the col­lec­tion, came in. He opened cab­in­ets and books for me and showed me around.

This won­der­ful ex­per­i­en­ce of get­ting broad ac­cess to ty­po­graphy, tech­niques, designs, and their vari­ous schol­arly fa­cets I have al­ways been happy to share with stu­dents, and I will con­tin­ue to share it with them.

One of the first books put in­to my hands in the Ty­po­graph­ic Lib­rary was Plain Print­ing Types (1900) by Theodore Low De Vinne (1828–1914), a print­er-schol­ar who ran a large print and com­pos­ing shop in New York and who has con­trib­uted much to the his­tori­ography of ty­po­graphy. The book’s title im­me­di­ately ap­pealed to me: Plain Print­ing Types – this was ex­actly what I as­pired to design! Later on, this book taught me how much in­genu­ity and at­ten­tion for de­tail are in­volved in achiev­ing plain­ness in type design. It is a per­spect­ive on ty­po­graphy to which I still feel close, even though in the course of my ca­reer I en­countered and em­braced many more con­struct­ive pro­fes­sion­al views and in­sights.


There were more books in the lib­rary that in­stantly caught my at­ten­tion, such as The Let­ter as a Work of Art and Print­ing and the Mind of Man. The first work, a 1951 ju­bilee volume of Let­ter­gi­eterij Am­s­ter­dam ed­ited by the art his­tor­i­an Dr. G. Knut­tel Wzn. (1889–1968) with help from Prof. Ovink, shows in­scrip­tions, manuscripts, and prin­ted books along­side artist­ic works such as mur­als, build­ings, fur­niture, stained win­dows and sculp­tures. This book ap­plies art his­tory and art cri­ti­cism to ty­po­graphy and let­ter designs, for in­stance, by ad­dress­ing when, where, and by whom they were made. In most cases, it is pos­sible to trace is­sues re­lated to a par­tic­u­lar design’s peri­od, place, ori­gin, and de­sign­er. There is, for ex­ample, baroque and neo­clas­si­cist ty­po­graphy. The type designs by the French Ro­ger Ex­cof­fon (1911–1983) are quite re­cog­niz­able. They re­veal his char­ac­ter and hand­writ­ing, while as products they clearly re­flect the 1950s and in their ex­press­ive ges­tures they are also very French.

Print­ing and the Mind of Man was an ex­hib­i­tion in Lon­don in 1963, which dis­played books of so­cial and cul­tur­al importance. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing cata­log per­fectly il­lus­trates the role of ty­po­graphy as vehicle of sci­en­ce and as means for spread­ing ideas and ideo­lo­gies geared to­ward so­cial change. It con­tains a host of di­ver­gent works such as Can­on Medi­cinae (Stras­bourg, be­fore 1473) by Avicenna (980–1037) on Ar­ab­ic medi­cine, De Thiende (Leiden, 1585) by Si­mon Stev­in (1548–1620) which con­trib­uted to the in­tro­duc­tion of frac­tions based on the decim­al sys­tem, A Vin­dic­a­tion of the Rights of Wo­man (Lon­don, 1792) by Mary Woll­stone­craft (1759–97) on equal rights to edu­ca­tion and know­ledge for wo­men and men, and Die Traum­deu­tung (Leipzig and Vi­enna, 1900) by Sig­mund Freud (1856–1939) with the ba­sic ten­ets of psy­cho­ana­lys­is. Print­ing and the Mind of Man of­fers a vivid ex­ample of what has been ac­com­plished by al­low­ing know­ledge and opin­ions to spread freely, thus en­sur­ing their ready avail­ab­il­ity to read­ers. In this re­spect it should be ad­ded that the re­cent Unicef cam­paign in­volving Sham­ila un­der­scores that after over two cen­tur­ies Mary Woll­stone­craft’s call for equal rights for wo­men still has a lot of ur­gency.


De Thiende (title page) by Flem­ish math­em­atician, en­gin­eer and mech­an­ic Si­mon Stev­in (1548/49–1620)•Plantin-More­tus Mu­seum

The Let­ter as a Work of Art and Print­ing and the Mind of Man both show the scope of ty­po­graphy as a sci­en­ce: from ap­pre­ci­ation of ac­tu­al let­ter forms to re­flec­tion on con­tent and ty­po­graphy’s ef­fects on so­ci­ety and in­tel­lec­tu­al his­tory.

There is also a key text I first en­countered in the Ty­po­graph­ic Lib­rary: The First Prin­ciples of Ty­po­graphy (Lon­don, 1930) by Stan­ley Mor­is­on (1889–1967), a much trans­lated and very in­flu­en­tial study. Mor­is­on is, among oth­er things, the spir­itu­al fath­er of what is most likely the most used Lat­in type design: Times New Ro­man (1932). In First Prin­ciples he defines ty­po­graphy as ‘the effi­cient means to an es­sen­tially util­it­ari­an and only ac­ci­dent­ally aes­thet­ic end’ (p. 61). With this last part, the ‘only ac­ci­dent­ally aes­thet­ic end’ I strongly dis­agree, and Mor­is­on him­self has de­mon­strated the in­cor­rect­ness of his claim. After all, with his Times he has done a great ser­vice to read­ers every­where, and this spe­cific design did not grow pop­u­lar by ac­ci­dent: he con­trib­uted much to this at­tract­ive type design. De­sign­ers of course have a pen­chant for put­ting more in­to a product than what is strictly ne­ces­sary. Whenev­er pos­sible, you add a little ex­tra to a ty­po­graph­ic product that will en­rich the ex­per­i­en­ce of read­ing, give it more depth, or make it more en­joy­able. In oth­er words, you con­sciously try to cre­ate an aes­thet­ic­ally pleas­ing product.

Times New Ro­man spe­ci­men (series 327) pub­lished by Mono­type (1960s)•Tholen­aar Col­lec­tion at Let­ter­form Archive, flickr.com

It is an is­sue what, ex­actly, ‘effi­ciency’ or ‘util­ity’ en­tails in re­la­tion to design. Al­though these qual­it­ies may also im­ply that users are moved by a product, that they feel it to be ex­cit­ing or that it trig­gers some oth­er emo­tion­al re­sponse, most of all a design should not leave users in­dif­fer­ent. From this angle I have al­ways prac­ticed my pro­fes­sion, and this is also how they taught me to do it at the academy.

This emo­tion­al di­men­sion is part and par­cel of design, as a mere curs­ory glance at twen­ti­eth-cen­tury con­tri­bu­tions will re­veal: all the vari­ous -isms, trends, and move­ments, such as Fu­tur­ism, Con­struct­iv­ism and Da­da­ism, the prag­mat­ism of the late 1950s and the 1960s and the re­ac­tions to it in the fol­low­ing dec­ades, up to the more selfish ex­per­i­ments of the 1990s – all these shift­ing move­ments and aes­thet­ics sug­gest that ty­po­graphy, too, is fully part of a cul­tur­al dy­nam­ics, rather than merely be­ing its vehicle. Ty­po­graph­ic products, just like oth­er design products, are re­flect­ive of an era’s cul­tur­al cli­mate and of how people live and think. Ty­po­graphy mir­rors the on­go­ing changes in so­ci­ety and how these in­flu­en­ce the minds of de­sign­ers and users alike.

Mean­while ty­po­graphy has be­come part of a broad-ran­ging me­dia and com­mu­nic­a­tions land­scape. Ty­po­graphy has also grown more in­ter­laced with graph­ic design; it is in­creas­ingly driv­en by im­age and col­or, as well as an­nexed by artists. This has cer­tainly en­riched ty­po­graphy, and visu­ally, apart from the pleas­ure of read­ing, it has more to of­fer than ever.

At this point it is rel­ev­ant to refer to a strik­ing para­dox in­volved in the act of read­ing: a read­ing in­di­vidu­al is not ‘see­ing’. Of all products of art and design, let­ters and ty­po­graphy are unique in that they, when con­sumed and en­joyed, re­main in a way ‘un­seen’; they are not con­sciously en­joyed. If we are stand­ing in front of a paint­ing and fail to see it we are ab­sent­minded, if not worse. If we at­tend a con­cert without hear­ing the mu­sic we may be dis­trac­ted or fo­cused on something else. Yet in the case of let­ters and ty­po­graphy, it is quite com­mon that we are look­ing at them without really see­ing them. Ob­serving and see­ing are con­scious acts, but read­ing is an auto­mat­ic and un­con­scious act. Read­ers im­mersed in their text do not no­tice let­ters and ty­po­graphy any­more, as is par­tially true for the ob­ject that me­di­ates the text – the book, news­pa­per, magazine, or screen – and even the sur­round­ings will fre­quently es­cape the per­cep­tion of read­ers to some de­gree. Pos­sibly they ‘see’ be­fore start­ing to read, or dur­ing in­ter­rup­tions; this is when they may per­ceive ty­po­graphy.

This para­dox­ic­al phe­no­men­on may com­plic­ate dis­cus­sion of the ex­tern­al qual­it­ies of ty­po­graphy. There are ty­po­graph­ers who ad­voc­ate min­im­al­ism, and some even ar­gue that ty­po­graph­ic ex­tern­al­it­ies are com­pletely su­per­flu­ous – one type face is enough. This par­tic­u­lar para­dox has led to the the­ory of in­vis­ible ty­po­graphy (Warde 1956, p. 11–17) and Mor­is­on’s idea about ‘an es­sen­tially util­it­ari­an and only ac­ci­dent­ally aes­thet­ic end’ is prob­ably linked to this think­ing as well.

Let­ters and the ways in which they work to­geth­er as words and texts have taken on their shapes in the hands and minds of sculptors, writers, and ty­po­graph­ers es­sen­tially on the basis of er­go­nom­ic con­cerns. Pri­or to the de­vel­op­ment of ty­po­graphy, the shapes of let­ters and the ba­sics of ty­po­graphy were largely fixed already in manuscripts. This per­tains to type areas, type sizes, in­ter­lin­ear spaces, and many oth­er conventions. Dur­ing the sub­se­quent peri­od cov­er­ing over five cen­tur­ies the ty­po­graph­ic sys­tem has been fur­ther refined and en­riched.


Still, a con­tem­por­ary lit­er­ary work, con­sist­ing of text ex­clus­ively, is sur­pris­ingly close to early prin­ted works, such as books pub­lished in Venice between 1470 and 1480 by Nic­olas Jen­son (1420–±1481). This sug­gests the ex­tent to which ty­po­graphy had already crys­tal­lized as a sys­tem. At first sight an in­dus­tri­ally made pa­per­back nov­el — di­git­ally type­set, prin­ted on in­ex­pens­ive pa­per with a large high-speed ro­ta­tion press, ma­chine-cut on four sides and its glued back put in­to a board cov­er by ma­chine as well — ap­pears to be quite dif­fer­ent from a book which in Jen­son’s work­shop was type­set by hand, prin­ted on hand­made pa­per with a hand press, and bound in leath­er by hand. Yet the pro­duc­tion-based dif­fer­en­ces between this early book and re­cent pa­per­back quickly evap­or­ate once we read the two works. Al­though there have been many de­tailed mod­ific­a­tions re­gard­ing type area and type designs, es­sen­tially very little has changed — be­cause hardly any­thing has changed in how we read, not­ably the phys­ic­al and neur­al pro­cesses in­volved.

The mar­gin­al change in ty­po­graphy dur­ing more than five cen­tur­ies partly ac­counts for the view that there are strict ty­po­graph­ic rules, or even laws. These rules ex­ist in­deed, but they largely per­tain to lan­guage use and de­term­ine, for in­stance, where a word can or can­not be split up, or how punc­tu­ation marks ought to be ap­plied. As far as ty­po­graphy is con­cerned it is mostly a mat­ter of con­ven­tions, which, in con­trast to rules, are of­ten sub­ject to in­ter­pret­a­tion. Type sizes, word spaces, in­ter­lin­ear spaces, and white around text are among the ele­ments that of­fer room for vari­ation.

The phys­ic­al and neur­al pro­cesses in­volved in read­ing are stud­ied by sev­er­al sci­en­tific dis­cip­lines. Most of our know­ledge about read­ing is gen­er­ated by psy­cho­lo­gic­al re­search. From the angle of lin­guist­ics, read­ing has been stud­ied in terms of how lan­guage is pro­cessed by the brain. Edu­ca­tion­al ex­perts have stud­ied read­ing to learn more about how read­ing di­dactics can be im­proved. And in the past fifteen years neur­o­logy has con­trib­uted ma­jor new in­sights as to how the brain pro­cesses text that is be­ing read. Thus con­ceived, ty­po­graphy is a junc­tion or meet­ing place of sev­er­al aca­dem­ic disciplines.

Al­though the read­ing pro­cess as such has seen little change over the cen­tur­ies, the read­er’s out­look changes per­man­ently. It is in­flu­en­ced by the era and en­vir­on­ment in which read­ers grow up and live, while ma­jor events and so­cial de­vel­op­ments – cli­mate change, wars, epi­dem­ics, re­li­gions, glob­al­iz­a­tion, and grow­ing con­ser­vat­ism – de­term­ine the mind­set of read­ers. Are they eager to learn more or do they rather hide from un­wel­come real­it­ies? Do they look for ex­plan­a­tions, un­der­stand­ing, and con­sol­a­tion, or do they rather want to es­cape and be en­ter­tained?

Change does not just af­fect read­ers, of course, but also writers, while de­sign­ers are sub­jec­ted to it as well. As a ty­po­graph­er I wish to know what is go­ing on in or­der to avoid merely be­ing swept along; I want to an­ti­cip­ate, make read­ing easi­er for read­ers, if pos­sible. And I would like to be able to ex­plain to stu­dents what is tak­ing place right now and what is to be ex­pec­ted in the nearby fu­ture.

Aside from such changes, tech­no­logy has been in a state of per­man­ent flux for some time now. In the fall of 2006 the Mas­sachu­setts In­sti­tu­te of Tech­no­logy, in the United States, and the Uni­versity of Southamp­ton, in Eng­land, an­nounced a pro­gram for ‘web-sci­en­ce’. On the WSRI-web­site one can read: ‘The Web Sci­en­ce Re­search Ini­ti­at­ive will al­low re­search­ers to take the Web ser­i­ously as an ob­ject of sci­en­tific in­quiry, with the goal of help­ing to foster the Web’s growth and fulfill its great po­ten­tial as a power­ful tool for hu­man­ity.’

As­sum­ing that pub­lic ac­cess to the World Wide Web, made pos­sible by the Mo­sa­ic browser, goes back to 1993, it has taken thir­teen years to set up this aca­dem­ic pro­gram. If in 1450 schol­ars had re­spon­ded in a sim­il­ar fash­ion to Guten­berg’s in­ven­tion, ty­po­graphy would have been a sci­en­ce in 1463; ‘…with the goal of help­ing to foster ty­po­graphy’s growth and fulfill its great po­ten­tial as a power­ful tool for hu­man­ity.’

Back in the fifteenth cen­tury, the French King Charles VII (1403–1461) was quick to real­ize the po­ten­tial of print­ing. He did so after eight years already, in 1458. He prob­ably had smart ad­visers who en­cour­aged him to find a know­ledge­able in­di­vidu­al who in Mainz could in­vest­ig­ate how the new mode of text re­pro­duc­tion worked. It is ques­tion­able, though, wheth­er the know­ledge thus gained would have be­come the ob­ject of sci­en­ce at that time. The pro­ject evolved dif­fer­ently any­how. The in­di­vidu­al sent to Mainz, Nic­olas Jen­son who was mas­ter of the mint at Tours, re­turned to France with his newly gained know­ledge of print­ing. However, the king’s death in 1461 and his son’s dis­trust of the offi­cials hired by his fath­er caused Jen­son to leave France and move to Venice, where around 1470 he star­ted his own print shop and pub­lish­ing busi­ness, in the ser­vice of sci­en­ce (Lowry 1991, p. 49).

Not un­til more than three cen­tur­ies later, in the course of the nine­teenth cen­tury, a pro­cess of drastic tech­no­lo­gic­al changes in the vari­ous graph­ic dis­cip­lines took off – a pro­cess that is still on­go­ing.

Com­pos­ing shops and print shops were mech­an­ized and in­dus­tri­al­ized. The first half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury was fairly quiet, but around 1960 a tech­no­lo­gic­al re­volu­tion erup­ted. Met­al type and let­ter press print­ing were re­placed with pho­to­type­set­ting and off­set print­ing, fol­lowed dir­ec­tly by di­git­al type­set­ting ma­chines, while also the auto­ma­tion of the vari­ous graph­ic dis­cip­lines star­ted off on a grand scale. Ini­tially these changes led to an enorm­ous de­cline of the qual­ity of print, and pre­cisely when it began to im­prove the per­son­al com­puter ap­peared on the scene – her­ald­ing yet an­oth­er re­volu­tion. Today, much print has very high qual­ity again, even though on screens it is still a mat­ter of get­ting by.

Apart from print, oth­er me­dia have gained much ground in re­cent years. Tele­vi­sion has turned liv­ing rooms in­to movie theat­ers. Mo­bile tele­phones have fully be­come part of our daily life, as is true of the web and the in­ter­net. And where the ap­plic­a­tion of text on pa­per is los­ing ter­rain, it is gain­ing ter­rain on screens. Much of the in­form­a­tion on the web con­sists of text, so we have ample reas­on to view ty­po­graphy as part of web sci­en­ce. Once in­ex­pens­ive high-res­ol­u­tion screens will be avail­able, the com­plete ty­po­graph­ic rich­ness of pa­per will also be­come vis­ible on screens, adding even more and al­to­geth­er new pos­sib­il­it­ies to ty­po­graphy.

The vari­ous tech­no­lo­gic­al de­vel­op­ments have had ma­jor so­cial ram­ific­a­tions as well. The graph­ic in­dustry was shaken up, it strongly de­clined in terms of its size, and it had to give up many cer­tain­ties. Pro­du­cing print has come with­in reach of many, not just with the per­son­al com­puter – which merely in­tensified an ex­ist­ing trend – but already much earli­er, in the 1960s, with the in­tro­duc­tion of elec­tric type­writers and desktop print­ing presses. ‘Free­dom of the press ap­plies to those who have a print­ing press,’ the Dutch Provo act­iv­ist Rob Stolk sup­posedly said around 1966. Like many oth­ers at that time, he used these small devices to make magazines, pamph­lets, and posters (an act­iv­ity that later on evolved in­to a full-blown print shop). In the mean time, many now have their own print shop at home in the shape of a print­er linked up to their pc, while the web has turned ‘free­dom of the press’ in­to a great­er liberty still. Today we truly live in a coun­try of free speech and opin­ion.

In 1972 Prof. Ovink ar­gued that ty­po­graph­ers and graph­ic de­sign­ers should re­fuse as­sign­ments that in­volve du­bi­ous con­tent or that send a ‘wrong’ mes­sage. Ovink’s call was based on the view that our senses suffered from over­ex­pos­ure and ‘men­tal pol­lu­tion’ be­cause there was so much to see and read, in print and on TV, that no one really needed or was wait­ing for. Whenev­er ne­ces­sary ty­po­graph­ers should re­write texts and read­ers should col­lect­ively make clear which prin­ted mat­ter or broad­cast­ing they no longer wanted to re­ceive (Ovink 1972, p. 341–354).

It is not un­com­mon for de­sign­ers to re­fuse an as­sign­ment when their own views hap­pen to be at odds with its con­tent. Al­though oc­ca­sion­ally a ty­po­graph­er will pro­pose a cli­ent to re­vise a text, it is un­usu­al to do so for ideo­lo­gic­al reas­ons.

Since the early 1970s, vari­ous ini­ti­at­ives have shown that read­ers or view­ers are all but un­crit­ic­al con­sumers. One ex­ample in­volves the in­tro­duc­tion of offi­cial mail­box stick­ers that in­dic­ate you do not want to re­ceive un­so­li­cited prin­ted mat­ter. And of course, view­ers may zap and read­ers may throw away un­read print. Largely, however, these things have been left up to the mar­ket be­cause it is im­pos­sible to define or have every­one agree on which texts are use­ful to hu­man­ity.

As a self-em­ployed ty­po­graph­er I am in a po­s­i­tion to re­fuse as­sign­ments, but I have nev­er had to do so. I was re­fused a pro­ject by the Dutch Com­mun­ist Party, though, which ap­proached me for work on the title of its news­pa­per, De Waar­heid (The Truth). My not be­ing a com­mun­ist even­tu­ally caused the as­sign­ment to be can­celled. As a type de­sign­er I can re­fuse to sell my di­git­al let­ters to a cli­ent I dis­like. But once they are out there and be­ing used to spread views I hap­pen to dis­ap­prove of, the only thing I can do is grab a pen­cil or go sit be­hind my key­board and write a text in re­sponse.

Al­though like Mor­is­on I de­signed let­ters that serve as suit­able vehicles for opin­ions, I can­not pre­vent oth­er people from us­ing my let­ters for present­ing texts I dis­agree with. Nor do graph­ic de­sign­ers, ty­po­graph­ers, and type de­sign­ers have any con­trol over the views de­rived from these texts. Es­sen­tially, then, my type designs, as well as the ty­po­graph­ic sys­tem, are in the same po­s­i­tion as the print­ing press: they are at the ser­vice of free­dom of speech and pub­lic opin­ion.

Benno Wiss­ing (1923-2008), a de­sign­er who worked for Total Design, the design bur­eau where I had my first job, once felt that the sta­tion­ery he had de­signed for a cli­ent turned out so beau­ti­ful that they should use it for nice let­ters only. In the early 1980s type­writers were re­placed by laser print­ers, which made it pos­sible to type­set let­ters with very refined typefaces, which be­fore­hand only ap­peared in qual­ity print­ing such as books. On one oc­ca­sion it took some time be­fore a col­league – who it was I don’t know any­more – real­ized that he was hold­ing an angry let­ter in his hands. Upon read­ing it he only had eyes for Pal­atino, a type design from 1950 by Her­mann Za­pf (1918). This typeface merely triggered pleas­ant thoughts in my col­league’s mind, and this un­for­tu­nately did not ex­actly match the let­ter’s con­tent. Of course I would be happy to join such cheer­ful op­tim­ism, but ty­po­graphy has lim­its.

Per­son­ally I can prac­tice ty­po­graphy as a sci­en­ce only by peri­od­ic­ally re­turn­ing to the roots of my fas­cin­a­tion for let­ters and ty­po­graphy, to the ori­gin of my love of let­ters. Why did I be­come in­ter­es­ted in ty­po­graphy and let­ters in the first place? I have been un­able to track down when, ex­actly, it star­ted. Yet the ex­cite­ment I must have felt at one point for the first time when con­sciously look­ing at let­ters is still there: how beau­ti­ful let­ters are! What won­der­ful, ex­cit­ing shapes they have. Let’s briefly con­sider four dif­fer­ent R’s: Lute­tia (1925) de­signed by Jan van Krim­pen (1892–1958), Vendôme (1952), after an idea by François Ganeau (1912–1983) and made by Ro­ger Ex­cof­fon (1911–1983) (cf. Blanchard, Mendoza 1983, p. 21, 22), Cen­tury School­book (1919–1924) by Mor­ris Fuller Benton (1872–1948), and my own Swift (1985). And by way of com­par­is­on let’s look at two pieces of text, type­set in Swift and Cap­it­oli­um News (2006), which I also de­signed.


Lute­tia (1925, de­signed by Jan van Krim­pen), Vendôme (1952, de­signed by Ro­ger Ex­cof­fon after an idea by François Ganeau), Cen­tury School­book (1919–1924, de­signed by Mor­ris Fuller Benton), Swift (1986, de­signed by Ger­ard Un­ger)

The Lute­tia R is one of the first let­ter forms I not only per­ceived con­sciously, but also copied. It is a very clas­sic R with a rather large up­per counter. Lute­tia well il­lus­trates the ex­tent to which Van Krim­pen fol­lowed clas­sic ex­amples while sim­ul­tan­eously leav­ing his per­son­al mark on it. The Vendôme R is much sharp­er and idio­syn­crat­ic, and less form­al than Lute­tia. This R too struck me quite early on and must have shown me how much space type de­sign­ers have to make a par­tic­u­lar let­ter their own. This typeface, then, is very French: it is a ges­ture, slightly nervous. Mor­ris Fuller Benton’s R is in fact not pretty, with its slightly slack twist as a tail. But the Cen­tury School­book I al­ways con­sidered very fine as a whole in­deed. It taught me that type designs and ty­po­graphy are not just about aes­thet­ics and de­tails, but that there are also many oth­er qual­it­ies, such as warmth and sol­id­ity, and that you may ad­apt let­ter forms to in­flu­en­ces from tech­no­logy or to spe­cial de­mands from read­ers. I ad­ded the Swift R be­cause it is easy to see that Vendôme served as one of its sources of in­spir­a­tion. The sharp­ness and the speed of Ro­ger Ex­cof­fon are trace­able in Swift.

These four R’s already show how rich and ver­sat­ile ty­po­graphy can be as a source of con­scious visu­al pleas­ure, aside from its un­know­ingly en­joyed func­tion as a vehicle of sci­en­ce, know­ledge, opin­ions, news, and lit­er­at­ure. One of the artist­ic styles of the 1950s and 1960s is called Hard Edge paint­ing. Of the artists work­ing in this style Ell­s­worth Kelly (1923) is my fa­vor­ite, with his sharp-edged sur­faces in smooth col­ors and with ex­cit­ing con­trasts between curved and straight edges. In my opin­ion, there is no harder-edged art to be found than pitch black let­ter shapes on a light sur­face. Sim­il­arly, it is pre­cisely these very shapes, I be­lieve, that al­low for the most in­tim­ate col­lab­or­a­tion between sci­en­ce and art.

After 1985 Swift has been widely ap­plied, for in­stance, in many Dutch news­pa­pers (in­clud­ing Trouw and Metro), and also in oth­er print, but only sporad­ic­ally in books. Ap­par­ently, book ty­po­graph­ers are more con­ser­vat­ive than oth­er ty­po­graph­ers in ap­ply­ing type with un­usu­al de­tails. Swift is un­con­ven­tion­al in its very spa­cious coun­ters and its an­gu­lar­ity and large serifs. Only re­cently the Swift was de­scribed as ‘un­or­tho­dox but not in­trus­ive’ (Rade 2005, p. 9). Still, it took some time for both ty­po­graph­ers and read­ers to get used to it. Oc­ca­sion­ally, in the late 1980s, I was called upon to ac­count for the al­leged ag­gress­ive char­ac­ter of Swift, but later on this nev­er happened any­more. Com­pared to Swift, Cap­it­oli­um News (used in the Neth­er­lands by de Volk­skrant) is more se­rene and con­ven­tion­al.


Evid­ently, much has changed over the past two dec­ades or so, but the first signs of a more con­ser­vat­ive turn in fact be­came vis­ible in the late 1970s already. The six­ties’ sense of liberty and the late six­ties’ com­mo­tion and stu­dent re­volts gradu­ally gave way to a new sense of prudence and tra­di­tion­al­ism, partly as a con­se­quence of the mount­ing and ac­cu­mu­lat­ing prob­lems in the world, which tele­vi­sion in par­tic­u­lar has man­aged to bring right in­to our liv­ing room. Some of these prob­lems I men­tioned already, such as war, cli­mate change, and large-scale mi­gra­tion. However, it is mainly the is­sue of the grow­ing in­tol­er­ance that has a more dir­ect in­flu­en­ce on ty­po­graphy, caus­ing people to re­main si­lent about things they ac­tu­ally want to talk about. Many cri­ti­cized the Dan­ish car­toon case as tact­less and silly, yet it has de­mon­strated people’s in­creased self-cen­sor­ship re­gard­ing the is­sues in­volved.

In the fin­al dec­ade of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury ty­po­graphy was sub­jec­ted to wild and dar­ing ex­per­i­ments. Un­usu­al and rad­ic­ally mod­ified let­ter forms and wild or dis­or­derly ty­po­graphy, made sub­ser­vi­ent to im­ages and col­ors, ec­lipsed the con­cern for readability. After 2000 such design is still done, but much less so, while tra­di­tion­al­ism and con­ven­tion­al­ism in­creas­ingly pre­vail in ty­po­graphy.

Should you go along in this trend? Wouldn’t it be a mat­ter of giv­ing in to the urge for mod­er­a­tion and more cau­tious for­mu­la­tion? I per­son­ally side with leav­ing no means un­tested when it comes to keep­ing read­ers read­ing and turn­ing non-read­ers in­to read­ers, as well as to guar­an­tee­ing max­im­al free­dom of speech. Com­pared to Swift, Cap­it­oli­um News is more se­rene. Al­though the ex­per­i­ment with large spaces in the let­ters is less vis­ible than in Swift, it is still part of it, al­beit slightly more hid­den. Cap­it­oli­um News, too, is a per­son­al and clear type design. My an­swer to the in­creas­ing prudence is to opt not for con­ser­vat­ive designs, but for clas­sic ones. A con­ser­vat­ive ap­proach sug­gests you’re afraid to lose what you have, but a clas­sic ap­proach al­lows you to breathe new life in­to an old idea or concept – it al­lows you to mod­ern­ize. Cap­it­oli­um News is based on my earli­er Cap­it­oli­um, de­signed for Rome and the year 2000, and in­spired on early baroque, It­ali­an in­ter­pret­a­tions of Ro­man mod­els (cf. Unger 1998, p. 61–73).

Lin­guists such as F. de Saus­sure (1857–1913) felt that writ­ten lan­guage is merely a con­ver­sion of spoken lan­guage (Olson 1994, p. 65, 66). A re­lated view, ex­pressed by D.R. Olson (1935), is that with ty­po­graphy one has tried to com­pensate for the losses caused by writ­ing in re­spect to or­al lan­guage, as in speak­ing softly and loudly, fa­cial ex­pres­sions and ges­tures, the prob­ing in­ton­a­tion or an iron­ic voice, and so on (Olson 1994, p. 92, 93). Olson is some­what right of course, but writers have many op­tions for in­dic­at­ing how speak­ers say something; con­sider, for ex­ample, the phrase ‘He turned red and roared…’

Ty­po­graphy is the toolkit – and the sys­tem – for writ­ing and read­ing. This toolkit con­tains, among oth­er things, cap­it­als and lower case, lar­ger and smal­ler type sizes, types with or without serifs, it­al­ics and bold, small cap­it­als, ran­ging and non-ran­ging nu­mer­als, and vari­ous kinds of white. At a high­er or­der level, this toolkit provides struc­ture to the title page, bib­li­o­graph­ic data, the table of con­tents, the foot­note and more.

As such these means hardly re­late to speak­ing and listen­ing (Gumbert 1993, p. 5, 6). In ty­po­graphy bold and it­al­ics are used for em­phas­is, among oth­er things, and a speak­er may stress something by rais­ing his voice. But it­al­ics is also ap­plied to in­dic­ate that a por­tion of a text dif­fers from the main text, as in a com­ment or a quote. In such situ­ations speak­ers have to make do with ‘and I quote’, ‘end of quote’, and oth­er sim­il­ar phrases. Ty­po­graph­ic pos­sib­il­it­ies have in­flu­en­ced speech; con­sider, for in­stance, an ex­pres­sion such as ‘mind the fine print’.

Many read­ers deal with ty­po­graphy un­con­sciously, while many au­thors are in­suffi­ciently fa­mil­i­ar with its pos­sib­il­it­ies. The reas­on for this goes back to our early edu­ca­tion, when we are trained to re­pro­duce writ­ten let­ters as per­son­al and in­form­al writ­ing, while at the same time we are taught to use ty­po­graphy and ‘form­al’ let­ters (with screens it is odd to speak of ‘prin­ted’ let­ters) without think­ing and also without re­pro­du­cing them – which, un­der­stand­ably, very few read­ers are able to do. Teach­ers who train chil­dren how to read and write usu­ally have no know­ledge of the tools with which they learn to read. In the light of the widely dis­sem­in­ated and in­tens­ive use of this par­tic­u­lar means of com­mu­nic­a­tion this is sur­pris­ing in­deed.

Those who have know­ledge of the vari­ous pos­sib­il­it­ies of the ty­po­graph­ic toolkit can make texts more ef­fect­ive and in­sight­ful, and they can ex­press them­selves more co­gently (Gumbert 1993, p.7, Janssen 2004, p. 33). Hav­ing ba­sic know­ledge of the ty­po­graph­ic sys­tem and its ap­plic­a­tion should be­long to the in­tel­lec­tu­al bag­gage of each uni­versity stu­dent. My col­league Frans Janssen and oth­ers have ar­gued that au­thors do not write books, but texts (Janssen 2004, p. 13). Today’s pro­grams for text pro­cess­ing on com­puters, however, of­fer such refined ty­po­graph­ic pos­sib­il­it­ies that this claim has lost some of its val­id­ity.

Rhet­or­ic is part of aca­dem­ic cur­riculums in Dutch and Clas­sic­al Lan­guages. The ty­po­graph­ic toolkit, I would ar­gue, of­fers tools for graph­ic rhet­or­ic, to be de­ployed in ar­tic­u­lat­ing, struc­tur­ing, em­phas­iz­ing, mak­ing dis­tinc­tions, mark­ing dir­ec­tions, in­sert­ing pauses, and so on. These vari­ous op­tions may be viewed as be­long­ing to the sys­tem of rhet­or­ic as well. Their re­flect­ive qual­it­ies turn ty­po­graphy in­to a fine aca­dem­ic in­stru­ment. Stu­dents are ex­pec­ted to have ad­equate know­ledge of lan­guage, be it Dutch or Eng­lish, and to ex­press them­selves well in writ­ing. These skills ought to be based not only in fun­da­ment­al know­ledge of ty­po­graphy as the vehicle of sci­en­ce, but also in sus­tained ex­pos­ure to ty­po­graphy as a sci­en­ce.


Ger­ard Un­ger at the PhD gradu­ation ce­re­mony at Leiden Uni­versity. Septem­ber 2013•Mac­Siers Ima­ging

I would like to ex­press my grate­ful­ness to the Board of Gov­ernors and the Ex­ec­ut­ive Board of Leiden Uni­versity, the board of the Fac­ulty of Arts, the man­age­ment of the Roy­al Academy of The Hag­ue, the ex­ec­ut­ive boards of the Roy­al Lib­rary of the Neth­er­lands and Mu­seum Meer­man­no, the board of the Dr. P.A. Tiele Found­a­tion, and to all oth­ers who have con­trib­uted to real­iz­ing my ap­point­ment. I will de­mon­strate that your con­fidence in me is justified.

Many whom I would like to thank for their in­spir­a­tion are no longer with us: my teach­ers who sup­por­ted me from the out­set, and my par­ents and par­ents-in-law. My fath­er, with his in­terest in art and design, was the one to put me on the track of ty­po­graphy and let­ters, and my fath­er-in-law, who came from an en­vir­on­ment that looked upon artists with a sense of won­der, soon put his trust in me.

I ex­press thanks to my fam­ily: my sis­ters, my broth­ers, and my daugh­ter Flora. In par­tic­u­lar I thank my wife Mar­jan for our good dis­cus­sions, our col­lab­or­a­tion, and her frank cri­ti­cism, as well as for en­joy­ing to­geth­er with me our count­less trips and vis­its to ex­hib­i­tions over the years. In no small meas­ure she has con­trib­uted to the fact that my in­terests have moved way bey­ond my own dis­cip­line.

Thank you for listen­ing.


  1. Aitchison, J., Words in the mind, Oxford, 1999.
  2. Blackwell, L., The End of Print, London, 1995.
  3. Blanchard, G., J. Mendoza, Excoffon, in: Communication et langages, Nr. 57, Parijs, 1983, pp. 21, 22. 
  4. Brown, C. M, P. Hagoort (eds.), The neurocognition of language, Oxford, 1999. 
  5. Carter, J., P. H. Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man, München, 1983. 
  6. Davies, F., Introducing Reading, London, 1995. 
  7. Dent, J. M., The Memoirs of J. M. Dent, London, 1928, p.126. 
  8. De Vinne, T. L., Plain Printing Types, in: The Practice of Typography, New York, 1900.
  9. Gumbert, J. P., ‘Typography’ in the Manuscript Book, in Journal of the Printing Historical Society, Nr. 22, Londen, 1993, p. 7. 
  10. Hoftijzer, P. G., O. S. Lankhorst, Drukkers, boekverkopers en lezers in de Republiek, Den Haag, 2000, p. 31. 
  11. Janssen, F. A., Author and printer in the history of typographical design, in: Technique & design in the history of printing, ‘t Goy-Houten, 2004, p. 13, 33. 
  12. Knulst, W., G. Kraaykamp, Leesgewoonten, Rijswijk, 1996. 
  13. Knuttel Wzn., dr. G., De letter als Kunstwerk, Amsterdam, 1951. 
  14. Lowry, M., Nicholas Jenson, Oxford, 1991, p. 49 
  15. Morison, S., First Principles of Typography, in The Fleron VII, Cambridge, 1930, p. 61.
  16. Olson, D. R., The world on paper, Cambridge, 1994, p. 65, 66, 92, 93. 
  17. Ovink, G. W., The Changing Resposibilities of the Typographic Designer, in Visible Language, Vol. VI, Nr. 4, Cleveland, 1972, p. 341–354 
  18. Rade, M., Consideration for the design of dictionary typefaces, Reading, 2007, p. 9. Ongepubliceerd essay.
  19. Rayner, K., A. Pollatsek, The Psychology of Reading, Hillsdale, 1989. 
  20. Unger, G. A., A type design for Rome and the year 2000, in: Typography Papers, Nr. 3, Reading, 1998.
  21. Unger, G. A., Terwijl je leest, Amsterdam, 2006. 
  22. VanderLans, R., Z. Licko en M. E. Gray, Emigre (The Book), London, 1993. 
  23. Warde, B., The Crystal Goblet or Printing Should Be Invisible (1932), in: The Crystal Goblet, Cleveland, 1956, p. 11–17.

In 1966 the Kun­st­nijver­heidsschool (School of Ap­plied Arts) was re­named Ger­rit Ri­etveld Academy. Theo Kur­per­shoek was my in­struct­or for let­ter writ­ing and let­ter draw­ing. I stud­ied there in the years 1963–1967.

In 1971 the Ty­po­graph­ic Lib­rary be­came part of the Uni­versity Lib­rary in Am­s­ter­dam; it is now part of the Lib­rary Spe­cial Col­lec­tions.

In the peri­od 1955–1982, Prof. Dr. G.W. Ovink, aside from his work as aes­thet­ic ad­viser of Let­ter­gi­eterij Am­s­ter­dam, served as ad­junct pro­fess­or at the Uni­versity of Am­s­ter­dam in the field of the ‘his­tory and aes­thet­ic of print­ing and re­lated graph­ic tech­niques’ (Hoftijzer/ Lank­horst 2000, p. 31). I am more or less his suc­cessor.

A par­al­lel ex­hib­i­tion showed the tech­nic­al means for mak­ing the books, such as molds for cast­ing let­ters, print­ing presses, and il­lus­tra­tion tech­niques.

Warde, B., The Crys­tal Gob­let or Print­ing Should Be In­vis­ible (1932), in: The Crys­tal Gob­let, Clev­e­land, 1956, p. 11–17

Warde, B., The Crys­tal Gob­let or Print­ing Should Be In­vis­ible (1932), in: The Crys­tal Gob­let, Clev­e­land, 1956, p. 11–17

See the com­plete art­icle: J.P. Gum­bert, “Ty­po­graphy” in the Manuscript Book, Journ­al of the Print­ing His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety, Nr. 22, Lon­don, 1993. Also: F.A. Janssen, Au­thor and print­er in the his­tory of ty­po­graph­ic­al design, in: Tech­nique & design in the his­tory of print­ing, ’t Goy-Houten, 2004. In the foot­notes, Janssen refers to more lit­er­at­ure about this top­ic.

An ex­ample from psy­cho­logy is: K. Rayner and A. Pol­lat­sek, The Psy­cho­logy of Read­ing, Hill­s­dale, 1989. For a con­tri­bu­tion from lin­guist­ics, see J. Aitchis­on, Words in the mind, Ox­ford, 1999. For a con­tri­bu­tion from an edu­ca­tion­al per­spect­ive, see F. Dav­ies, In­tro­du­cing Read­ing, Lon­don, 1995. A volume with con­tri­bu­tions from neur­o­logy is: C.M. Brown and P. Ha­goort (eds.), The neuro­cog­ni­tion of lan­guage, Ox­ford, 1999. And my own volume, Ter­wijl je Leest, Am­s­ter­dam, 2006, dis­cusses views on legib­il­ity and read­ab­il­ity of graph­ic de­sign­ers, ty­po­graph­ers, and type de­sign­ers.

Lowry, M., Nich­olas Jen­son, Ox­ford, 1991, p. 49

Ovink, G. W., The Chan­ging Re­s­pos­ib­il­it­ies of the Ty­po­graph­ic De­sign­er, in Vis­ible Lan­guage, Vol. VI, Nr. 4, Clev­e­land, 1972, p. 341–354.

Blan­chard, G., J. Men­d­oza, Ex­cof­fon, in: Com­mu­nic­a­tion et lan­gages, Nr. 57, Par­ijs, 1983, pp. 21, 22

Rade, M., Con­sid­er­a­tions for the design of dic­tion­ary typefaces, Read­ing, 2007, p. 9. Onge­pub­liceerd es­say.

The shift dur­ing the last dec­ade of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury, as clearly re­flec­ted in magazines such as Emigre (Van­der­Lans Licko Gray 1993) and Ray Gun (Black­well 1995), is partly an ef­fect of the in­tro­duc­tion of the Ma­cin­tosh com­puter, in 1984, as a tool for de­sign­ers.

Un­ger, G. A., A type design for Rome and the year 2000, in: Ty­po­graphy Pa­pers, Nr. 3, Read­ing, 1998, pp. 61–73

Olson, D. R., The world on pa­per, Cam­bridge, 1994, p. 65, 66

Gum­bert, J. P., „Ty­po­graphy“ in the Manuscript Book, in Journ­al of the Print­ing His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety, Nr. 22, Londen, 1993, p. 5, 6

Gum­bert 1993, p. 7; Janssen, F. A., Au­thor and print­er in the his­tory of ty­po­graph­ic­al design, in: Tech­nique & design in the his­tory of print­ing, ‘t Goy-Houten, 2004, p. 33.

Gerard Unger