The crafts of Western typography, type-founding and typeface design began in mid-15th-century Europe with the introduction of movable type printing as the medieval era transitions into the Renaissance. Movable type helped spread cultural of learning and enquiry orginating in Italy throughout much of the rest of Europe. — Elif Ayiter
Above: Van de Graaf devised this construction to show how Gutenberg and others may have divided their page to achieve their margins and a type area in the same proportions as the page. — Canons of Page Construction, Wikipedia
During the Renaissance literacy spread (both the ability to read and to write). Diaries, notebooks, notes, and letter writing became very popular with the upper classes. Calligraphy masters travelled to teach the educated elite the art of calligraphy, page layout and lettering.
“Renaissance notebooks, late 15th to mid 16th centuries.”— Elif Ayiter
Above “is a letter of the famous Italian scholar Pietro Bembo, after whom the typeface ‘Bembo’ was named by it’s creator Francesco Griffi. — Elif Ayiter
Leonardo da Vinci (between 1490 and 1495) recorded his studies and ideas in meticulously illustrated notebooks with extraordinary page layouts. — Elif Ayiter
“The great intellectual movement of Renaissance Italy was humanism. The humanists believed that the Greek and Latin classics contained both all the lessons one needed to lead a moral and effective life and the best models for a powerful Latin style. They developed a new, rigorous kind of classical scholarship, with which they corrected and tried to understand the works of the Greeks and Romans, which seemed so vital to them. Both the republican elites of Florence and Venice and the ruling families of Milan, Ferrara, and Urbino hired humanists to teach their children classical morality and to write elegant, classical letters, histories, and propaganda.” — Elif Ayiter
Mush of page sizes and text boxes in this post are rectanglar, many use or refer to the golden ratio. Consider using the golden ratio to determine the size and proportions of your traditional page layout
The Parthenon in Athens, built by the ancient Greeks from 447 to 438 BC, is regarded by many to illustrate the application of the Golden Ratio in design (some disagree). The Golden Ratio (or section) is approximately equal to 1.618.
“The golden ratio has fascinated Western intellectuals of diverse interests for at least 2,400 years. The golden ratio also is called the golden mean or golden section. Mathematicians since Euclid have studied the properties of the golden ratio, including its appearance in a golden rectangle, which may be cut into a square and a smaller rectangle with the same aspect ratio.” — Wikipedia
From Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton.
Pages from Champs Fleury, 1529 — Elif Ayiter
Pierre Simon Fournier (1712 – 1768) was a French mid-eighteenth century punch-cutter, typefounder and typographic theoretician, master of the rococo form. Typefaces designed by Fournier include Fournier and Narcissus.
François-Ambroise Didot (1730–1804) succeeded his father François, and was appointed printer to the clergy in 1788. About 1780 he adapted the “point” system for sizing typefaces by width.
Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813). Bodoni followed the ideas of John Baskerville, as found in the printing type Baskerville: increased stroke contrast and a more vertical, slightly condensed, upper case; but took them to a more extreme conclusion. Bodoni had a long career and his designs evolved and varied, ending with a typeface of narrower underlying structure with flat, unbracketed serifs, extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes, and an overall geometric construction. —Wikipedia
Is this just ALL about aesthetics? Context, concept, message, historic reference (as needed) and aesthetics are all important in making design decisions. Your goal is to refine the variables and relationships between point size, leading, words per line (line length), margins and column/s to create the greatest ease of reading.
A general list of visual elements / layout and typographic style to use:
- serif typeface/s
- symmetrical design
- golden section or golden mean page proportions and text area (play with these ratios / potential page sizes: 8:5, 16:10 and 1.6:1—all are the same aspect ratio, the last is the golden ratio).
- centered typography for headers (diminuendo for fun!)
- uppercase or small caps letter spaced for headers and subheads
- justified or flush left for body copy
- single column layout (10–15 words no less than 7 per line) or refer to Bringhurst’s Choose a comfortable measure: “Anything from 45 to 75 characters is widely regarded as a satisfactory length of line for a single-column page set in a serifed text face in a text size. The 66-character line (counting both letters and spaces) is widely regarded as ideal. For multiple column work, a better average is 40 to 50 characters.”
- printed text read from approx. distance of 12–13.5 inches
- margins at the bottom of the page and outside edges are the largest
Contemporary design using traditional typography and symmetrical page layout.
Above Martin Venesky’s “Take 2: Women Revisiting Art History covered a twenty-five year span of artwork by a roster of influential women. I designed the catalog with reference to a design past that included classical typography and handcrafted, collaged ornaments.” — Martin Venesky
Below Kinfolk’s use of traditional typography / symmetrical layout:
Above two images are student work by Linnea Sigurdson, Graphic Design at Berghs School of Communication, Stockholm. Book design assignment in symmetrical typography. This assignment was to make a classical book series using symmetrical typography.
214 Magazine by Shaz Madani
Insider Magazine by Shaz Madan
Who’s Jack Magazine Designed by SAWDUST
Magazine Designed By Francesca Valad
Slanted Magazine Designed by Magma Brand Design
found on graphic-exchange.com