The History of Typography Told in Five Animated Minutes

Caslon, Baskerville, Helvetica… these names have graced many a pull down menu, but what do they signify, exactly?

Graphic designer Ben Barrett-Forrest spent 140 hours animating the 291 paper letters on display in the History of Typography, an introduction to the ways in which language has been expressed visually over time.

From Gutenberg’s inky, monk-inspired Blacklister font to the ever-controversial Comic Sans, Barrett-Forrest employs stop motion to spell out the quantifiable reasons that certain serifs and stroke types are easy on the eye. Let’s not tell the creators of Llama Font or Mr. Twiggy, but legibility is the mother of survival in this arena.

via @coudal

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Ayun Halliday has devoted the last 15 years to  producing The East Village Inky, an entirely handwritten zine whose aging readers complain that they can no long make out the tiny print.



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  1. Bill says . . . | May 6, 2013 / 9:48 am

    Baskerville! It’s spelt BaSKerville!

  2. Ayun Halliday says . . . | May 6, 2013 / 10:23 am

    Nice catch, Bill! I know it, but my fingers, failing eyes, and nighttime brain conspired against me. We’ll fix that nonsense stat!

  3. Margaret Rose STRINGER says . . . | May 6, 2013 / 1:46 pm

    Love it!
    Being a total tyro at all this, but one who is half in love with typography in spite of my ignorance, this little story is of enormous appeal.
    Simple and informative.
    The only way to tell a story.

  4. Nathalie Perrault says . . . | January 19, 2014 / 10:19 am

    Great, thanks!

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