“Plenty of white space and generous line spacing, and don’t make the type size too miserly,” wrote Giambattista Bodoni in the early 1800s. “Then you will have a product fit for a king.” The royalty-ready work of Bodoni (“the king of typographers and the typographer of kings”) and hundreds more lettering legends is collected in Type. A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles by Jan Tholenaar, Alston W. Purvis, and Cees De Jong. The first in a two-volume set from Taschen, the book is a lush index of type specimens dating from 1628 to 1900, accented with the borders, ornaments, and graphical flourishes of the day. The evolution of the printed letter is traced through the work of typographers such as William Caslon, John Baskerville, and Claude Garamond, who claimed he could cut printed stamps in “Cicero size” (12 point) at the age of 15. Brush up on your Victorian fonts in preparation for volume two, which will be published early next year.
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