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An example of this letter. In our mods.. Every subject, from dentistry to dog handling has its own vocabulary — terms that are peculiar (unique) to it. Typography is no exception. Learning the lingua franca (lingo) of type will make typography that much more accessible; and that will, in turn, lead to greater understanding, and hopefully a greater appreciation for all things “type”. Today we’re going to take a look at just one of those terms, namely “Humanist”. You may have come across this term before (or you may even be thinking, what the hell’s that?). The term Humanist is part of the nomenclature that describes type classification. During the 1800s a system of classifying type was derived, and although numerous other systems and subsets of this system exist, this basically is it: Humanist | Old Style | Transitional | Modern Slab Serif (Egyptian) | Sans Serif By the end of this six-part series, you will be quite au fait with all of these terms; and just imagine the joy you will experience when you proudly exclaim to the delight of your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, neighbor, guy at the corner shop, Look at that Humanist inspired type! Note how the bar of the lowercase “e”…. So, without further ado, let’s begin our journey — a journey that will take us from the incunabula to the present day. [Incunabula] can refer to the earliest stages in the development of anything, but it has come to stand particularly for those books printed in Europe before 1500. — A Short History of the Printed Word The model for the first movable types was Blackletter (also know as Block, Gothic, Fraktur or Old English), a heavy, dark, at times almost illegible — to modern eyes — script that was common during the Middle Ages. Thankfully, types based on blackletter were soon superseded by something a little easier to read, (drum roll…)—enter Humanist. The Humanist types (sometimes referred to as Venetian) appeared during the 1460s and 1470s, and were modelled not on the dark gothic scripts like textura, but on the lighter, more open forms of the Italian humanist writers. The Humanist types were at the same time the first roman types. Characteristics So what makes Humanist, Humanist? What distinguishes it from other styles? What are its main characteristics? 1 Sloping cross-bar on the lowercase “e”; 2 Relatively small x-height; 3 Low contrast between “thick” and “thin” strokes (basically that means that there is little variation in the stroke width); 4 Dark colour (not a reference to colour in the traditional sense, but the overall lightness or darkness of the page). To get a better impression of a page’s colour look at it through half-closed eyes. Examples And here are some examples of Humanist faces: Jenson, Kennerley, Centaur, Stempel Schneidler, Verona, Lutetia, Jersey, Lynton. Although the influence of Humanist types is far reaching, they aren’t often seen these days. Despite a brief revival during the early twentieth century, their relatively dark color and small x-heights have fallen out of favor. However, they do deserve our attention — our admiration even — because they are, in a sense, the great grand parents of today’s types. Grab your passports and pack your toothbrushes because in part two we’re off to Venice to take a closer look at “Old Style” type. For those of you interested in testing your knowledge, can you tell which of the following are not generally considered to be Humanist types: Erasmus, Times New Roman, Caslon, Cloister, Guardi, ITC Garamond Source: https://ilovetypography.com/2007/11/06/type-terminology-humanist-2/ The Renaissance affected change in every sphere of life, but perhaps one of its most enduring legacies are the letterforms it bequeathed to us. But their heritage reaches far beyond the Italian Renaissance to antiquity. In ancient Rome, the Republican and Imperial capitals were joined by rustic capitals, square capitals (Imperial Roman capitals written with a brush), uncials, and half-uncials, in addition to a more rapidly penned cursive for everyday use. From those uncial and half-uncial forms evolved a new formal book-hand practiced in France, that spread rapidly throughout medieval Europe. Caroline minuscule, rustic capitals, uncial, and Caroline / square capitals. Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. 4. Parchment. 46-46.5 x 35.5-36 cm. Tours, Abbey St. Martin. c. 820–830. Alcuin of York was responsible for introducing the notion of a hierarchy of scripts from old to new: roman capitals, uncials, and Caroline minuscule, with capital forms reserved for display purposes. (See Michelle P. Brown’s A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600, 1990, p. 66) Photo courtesy of University of Fribourg, Switzerland This Carolingian script flourished in the eighth and ninth centuries. However, from the beginning of the eleventh century, through to about 1225, the Caroline minuscule (accompanied by a form of uncial majuscule) evolved into a more angular and laterally compressed script. Not only were letterforms affected by this compression, but the letter-spacing too, so much so that letters begin to kiss, bite, and fuse. By the twelfth century, this gothic script, with numerous national and local variations, was fully developed and adopted throughout Europe. However, by the fourteenth century, changes were afoot. Humanists like Coluccio Salutati (1331–1406) and Poggio Bracciolini (1380–1459), among others, championed a new semi-gothic script that would thereafter evolve into the humanist book-hand. From left to right: Imperial capitals, Rustic capitals, Uncial script, Carolingian minuscule In late medieval and early Renaissance Italy, the gothic script, as elsewhere in Europe, was the preeminent formal book-hand. However, the extreme angularity and compression of Northern Textura (or Textualis) was resisted in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The southern European variant, rotunda or Southern Textualis, is characterized by rounder bows and broader letterforms. Florentine ‘humanist’ script of Antonio di Mario, 1448. From Florentine Script, Paduan Script, & Roman Type. Geoffrey Hargreaves. Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, Jan 1, 1992, Vol.67, p. 15