Type Anatomy: Jacob Granneman

This manuscript was created by the Catholic Church in 1500 A.D. for use in Masses and special ceremonies.

I chose to analyze the book of music, written in Spain in 1500. It is a latin song book, for use by the Catholic Church in masses and special ceremonies. It is a handwritten manuscript, even though its as created post-Gutenberg. The lettering is done in a calligraph style, with the music notes interestingly simplified to mere squares and diamonds. The first letter of many lines, is often illuminated in someway, suggesting this book is meant to call back to the popular age of detailed, flowery, hand-written pieces of religious material.

The individual characters are quite precise, in spite of being penned by hand. Throughout the work, the baseline and x-height of nearly all the letters appears uniform. There is a clear, and expert use of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as a set width, that is consistent through the work. Being calligraphic, the characters are not necessarily sans-serif, but do not follow the steady reputation of serif type. Most of the characters assume an upright posture, but several capital letters lean at an angle from their cap-height. The ascenders and descenders are often quite equal to each other in overall size and length. The style of writing is pretty organic, but has geometric qualities, such as the uniform spacing and ascender/descender height/depth.

The example clearly demonstrates a large visual presence, due  in part to the size of the text and the book. The letters are striking and angular, but still calculatingly curved in places. There is an air of authority about the letters, as they punch out of the page, and seem to even move into there positions with the shifts in thick and thin members. Ultimately, the hand-written letters appear as exact as type, which  should tell you all you need to know about the precise care and attention that went into designing and producing such a typeface.




About Jacob Granneman

Jacob has been the Multimedia Editor for The Clark College Independent. He is also an improvisational actor and enjoys all forms of writing and videography. Find more of his work at www.picstodaywordstomorrow.wordpress.com or at www.gearworkfilms.wordpress.com.
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