Timeline of Printing and Typography

Technological advances have led to innovations in printing and typography. We can break the history of type into eras based on technology: pre-press (pre-Gutenberg); hard-metal reusable types (Gutenberg-style printing); hot-lead machine type (Linotype and Monotype); and the digital era (phototype to on-screen type). Today, we read screens — and the typography is purely digital.

A typeface is an overall design of letters, while a font is the face at a given size.

The history of printing and typography is taught from a Eurocentric perspective, even though printing and movable type first emerged in Asia-Pacific regions.


Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. 3rd ed., Point Roberts, WA: Hartley & Marks, Publishers, 2004. ISBN: 0881792055 0881792063 (pbk.: alk. paper)

Carter, Sebastian. Twentieth Century Type Designers. New ed., London: Lund Humphries Publishers, 1995. ISBN: 0853316589

Clair, Kate. A Typographic Workbook: A Primer to History, Techniques, and Artistry. New York: Wiley, 1999. ISBN: 0471292370 (alk. paper)

Coles, Stephen. The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Typefaces. New York: Harper Design, 2012. ISBN: 9780062203120 0062203126

Consuegra, David. American Type: Design & Designers. New York: Allworth Press, 2004. ISBN: 1581153201 (pbk.)

Consuegra provides one of the most detailed chronologies of type technology and typefaces. Covering 40 pages, the chronology places types in context.

Dodd, Robin. From Gutenberg to OpenType: An Illustrated History of Type From the Earliest Letterforms to the Latest Digital Fonts. Vancouver, WA: Hartley & Marks Publishers, 2006. ISBN: 0881792101 (softcover)

AG, FontShop. 100 Best Typefaces Ever. ed. Rob Carney, Bath, U.K.: Future Publishing Ltd, 2014. ISBN: 074470841432

Garfield, Simon. Just My Type: A Book About Fonts. New York, New York: Gotham Books, 2011. ISBN: 9781592406524

Heller, Steven. The Education of a Typographer. New York: Allworth Press, 2004. ISBN: 1581153481 (pbk.)

Heller, Steven, and Philip B. Meggs. Texts on Type: Critical Writings on Typography. New York: Allworth Press, 2001. ISBN: 1581150822 (pbk.)

Loxley, Simon. Type is Beautiful: The Story of Fifty Remarkable Fonts. Oxford, UK: Bodleian Library, Univ. of Oxford, 2016. ISBN: 9781851244317 (hbk.)

Loxley, Simon. Type: The Secret History of Letters. London; New York: I.B. Tauris, 2004. ISBN: 1850433976 1845110285 (pbk.)

Lupton, Ellen. Thinking With Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students. Design Briefs. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004. ISBN: 1568984480 (alk. paper)

Macmillan, Neil. An A-Z of Type Designers. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006. ISBN: 0300111517 (alk. paper)

Morison, Stanley, and Brooke Crutchley. A Tally of Types: With Additions By Several Hands and with a New Introduction by Mike Parker. Boston: D.R. Godine, 1999. ISBN: 1567920047

Perfect, Christopher, and Jeremy Austen. The Complete Typographer: A Manual for Designing With Type. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall, 1992. ISBN: 0130456675

Rabinowitz, Tova. Exploring Typography. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning, 2006. ISBN: 1401815057 (pbk.) 9781401815059

Spiekermann, Erik. Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works. 3rd ed., San Jose, CA: AdobePress, 2014. ISBN: 9780321934284 (paperback) 0321934288 (paperback)

Tice, Bruce, and Nadine Monem. Font. The Sourcebook. Black Dog Publishing, 2008. ISBN: 1906155410

Updike, Daniel Berkeley. Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use. 4th ed., New Castle, Del. London: Oak Knoll Press British Library, 2001. ISBN: 1584560568 (USA) 0712347348 (UK)

White, Alex. Thinking in Type: The Practical Philosophy of Typography. New York, NY: Allworth Press, 2005. ISBN: 1581153848 (pbk.)


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Writer: C. S. Wyatt
Updated: 21-Oct-2017
Editor: S. D. Schnelbach