Typographic Histories: Three Decades of Research

Jeremy Aynsley, Priscila Farias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This Virtual Special Issue includes twelve articles published in the Journal of Design History between 1988 to 2020 that focus on typographic histories. The selected articles address different aspects of the subject, ranging from designing letterforms and manufacturing typefaces to putting those letterforms to use - through typesetting and letterpress printing, typewriting, collage, lithography and photocopying. To provide a context for this selection of articles this Introduction begins by characterizing the place of typographic histories within the Journal of Design History and the broader field of design history. It then considers the methods, models and approaches available that offer a framework for understanding and interpreting typographic practices and objects. Recognizing that the historiography of typography has a trajectory that predates design history by many years, reference is made to other disciplines that have contributed to this longer history. We then give a brief overview of the various kinds of archives and collections where the materials, methods and objects of typography are held and can be studied. The Introduction concludes by detailing the contribution of the selected articles, grouping them and drawing out themes that become apparent by placing them together. Finally, the article offers suggestions for future research and scholarship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Design History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Design History following peer review. The version of record Priscila L Farias, Jeremy Aynsley, Typographic Histories: Three Decades of Research, Journal of Design History, 2021;, epab030, is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epab030.


  • Typography
  • Graphic Design History
  • Gender
  • Modernity
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Graphic design history


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