Universiteit Leiden

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On the origin of patterning in movable Latin type : Renaissance standardisation, systematisation, and unitisation of textura and roman type

This PhD-research is conducted to test the hypothesis that Gutenberg and consorts developed a standardised and even unitised system for the production of textura type, and that this system was extrapolated for the production of roman type in Renaissance Italy.

Frank Blokland
11 October 2016
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For roman type, Humanistic handwriting was moulded into a prefixed standardised system already developed for the production of gothic type. This was possible because there is an intrinsic morphological relationship between the structures of the written textura quadrata and the Humanistic minuscule. Renaissance typographic patterning was in part determined by prerequisites for the production of type. The typographic conventions are not purely the result of optical preferences predating the invention of movable type but are also the result of the standardisation of characters in the Renaissance type production. By mapping the underlying harmonic and rhythmic aspects, we gain more insight into what exactly the creative process in type design comprises, and what its constraints are. Furthermore, it makes the parameterisation of digital type-design processes possible.

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