Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Nobody But Us

Children of the 90’s aren’t likely to find themselves doing any research for a class project in something called a library.
Especially with the world is at their fingertips.
It was with appreciation I took a visit to the Vancouver Public Library with our History of Design class.
To the top floor for the Special Collections.
Here local Northwest history is the focus. Yet amongst the books carefully laid out to view on special archive pillows -  what we saw was global.
A Bavarian book from 1430. Printed on calf skin. No page numbers visible, but the early printers guidelines were.
Out came a page from the Gutenberg bible from 1455. Noticeable differentials in the type. Not all letters the same. Variations on the letter ‘a’ abundant.
As the centuries unfolded before us we hear the word rubric – where colour has later been added to a type face after the printing is done.
In the late 1800’s books were edged in gold!
This magnificent array of historical typography is generously appreciated in person. Much more so then in a book.
And even better then on a computer screen. 

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