Type Anatomy: Allison Cissna

I have been reading a lot about fonts and how much detail goes into them. Fonts have changed tremendously over time from hand written to sans serif and serif to fancy letters created through objects and shapes. After reading through Ellen Lupton’s “Thinking with Type”, I was fascinated how much our lettering and grammar has changed over the time. We have almost become lazy and always searching for shortcuts to achieve things. The idea that we would write letters from ink and a quill amaze me especially when compared to how we create type now. We can manipulate lettering on software, we can just touch on letter on a keyboard and there it will display on a screen where you can also change the type of font from a scroll bar menu provided. Just amazing to think about how things used to be.

Our class recently went and visited the Manuscripts Archives and Special Collections office to observe some old manuscripts that have been held in awesome condition from the staff that work there. I found a prayer book written in Latin from the Catholic Church that was created in the early 1800’s. The type displayed on this particular page has a beautifully done serif style of lettering with a gothic or renaissance theme just like most pieces of literature contained back in those days. Throughout the prayer you will find the x-height of the lettering is very consistent and the terminal in the letter “F” is kind of exaggerated to the right.

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