When did serif type replace blackletter?

Around what time did serif type overtake blackletter type as the most common choice for printed text?

Comments

  • RalfRalf Posts: 170
    Where?
  • Ah yes, Germany has its own timeline here. I guess I mean throughout Europe in general.
  • Around 1500/1600? Just guessing...
  • Yes, I think the answer is different for different parts of Europe (and not only Germany).
  • RalfRalf Posts: 170
    I don't believe there is a simple answer. Germany aside it was a slow development between the 17th and the 19th century. And it not only was dependent on the region but also on the content. The more “modern” or “scientific“ the text was, the more likely it would have been in Roman lettering. So it's hard to pin down a certain time when it switched.
    Of course it was also a matter of politics. At the end of the 18th century Germans shortly started to love the “exotic” French letters (e.g. of Didot). After Napoleon defeated the country, they hated them again and everything was set in blackletter again …
  • I get the impression that serifs overtook blackletter early, between 1470 and 1510. Once Aldus and Griffo had their roman and italic fonts worked out they spread to France, Spain, and the Netherlands pretty quickly. This had a lot to do with the rampant piracy of every aspect of the small Aldine books (layout, type, and text) and their proven commercial appeal. There wasn’t much point in knocking off German liturgical blackletter designs, because there were only so many churches with a priest who could both read and dig up the funds for a book. But there were plenty of bourgeois men who wanted their sons and daughters to be literate and well-read, and that required a lot of small, inexpensive books.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,449
    edited December 2012
    An interesting keynote speech at the 2001 ATypI conference in Copenhagen. Denmark at the border between blackletter Scandinavian countries and antiqua Europe. IIRC early 19th century writers/intellectuals such as Kierkegaard (Danish) and the Grimms and Goethe preferred the antiqua (arguably the best term to contrast with blackletter). They were eyeing an international readership no doubt, that would have had some difficulty with German in blackletter, but not so much in Antiqua.

    One tends to assume, in this day and age of quick international travel, that culture was much more insular in the past, but there has always been a lot of movement around Europe, of people, artefacts and ideas.
  • One tends to assume, in this day and age of quick international travel, that culture was much more insular in the past, but there has always been a lot of movement around Europe, of people, artefacts and ideas.
    Nesbitt hits on this often in History of Technique and Lettering. He tracks change and movement of styles over time rather than using nationalistic breaks as Updike did, and ultimately creates an easier to follow and more convincing narrative. Not that Updike ignored travel of ideas across borders, but he didn’t arrange his book to make the case as well as Nesbitt.
  • How many type foundries existed in the early centuries of type, and where? Were more peripheral areas dependent on the importable type styles favored by the nearest foreign foundries?
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 527
    edited December 2012
    > Were more peripheral areas dependent on the importable type styles
    > favored by the nearest foreign foundries?
    Well, England was dependent of Dutch type until Caslon make his own version of them (around 1720).
  • I know (thanks to some excellent research by a grad student of mine) that early Swedish printing houses were inclined to import German printers. I would guess they're importing the sorts, or at least matrices, too.
  • I would have thought that the spread of Renaissance was the cause of the replacement?
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,660
    edited December 2012
    How many type foundries existed in the early centuries of type, and where? Were more peripheral areas dependent on the importable type styles favored by the nearest foreign foundries?
    That really depends on where you drawn the “early” line. Prior to Garamond publishing, printing, and type founding were mostly one business and the practitioners swapped materials at trade fairs. I don't think printers needed to be “on the peripheral” to use foreign type. Plantin probably could have hired a Dutchman instead of Garamond, etc.
    I would have thought that the spread of Renaissance was the cause of the replacement?
    The Renaissance was a period of a whole lot of ideas spreading, not a phenomena that spread ideas. The spread of the roman types are just one of those ideas.
  • I used the label as a style in visual arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, type.
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