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Fonts: history of development and main characteristics

Fonts: history of development and main characteristics

Font (German: Schrift "schreiben - to write") is a graphic drawing of the styles of letters and signs that make up a single stylistic and compositional system, a set of characters of a certain size and pattern. In a narrow typographical sense, a font is a set of typographic characters intended for typing. Fonts are an integral part of graffiti, as well as tagging and bombing.

A group of fonts of different types and sizes that have the same style, style and design is called a typeface.

History of font development

  • The first written form of thought transmission was pictography - drawings on the walls of caves and on rocks.
  • Knot writing as a form of information transfer has become a transitional form from drawing to graphic writing.
  • Ideography is the next step.
  • Hieroglyphs of Ancient Egypt, signs-symbols were the forerunners of modern writing. A little later, hieroglyphs were used to convey the initial sound of the name of an object, phenomenon, event, but there was no complete transition to phonetic writing.
  • The first alphabet of litero-phonetic writing was created by the Phoenicians. This alphabet became the primary source of most of the world's alphabets - Greek, Latin, Slavic and others.
  • The Greeks improved the Phoenician alphabet by introducing vowel sounds into it. Its letter signs are very simple, have clear lines of the same thickness, and consist of simple geometric shapes - a circle, a triangle, a segment. The ancient Greek alphabet became the first alphabet in Europe.
  • The Latin and Russian alphabets are built on a single graphic basis and they originated from ancient Greek inscriptions - capitals.
  • Mayuskul was carved on stone slabs, columns, triumphal arches. One of the types of handwritten majuscule was a square letter. The letters of such a letter are characterized by smooth thickening and serifs. Narrower and more decorative letters are rustic. Another variant of handwritten Roman writing is italics.
  • In the 6th century, a new style of writing appeared - the uncial. The letters of this font were characterized by the protrusion of the ends beyond the upper and lower lines of the row. The development of this font is half ounce. This period became a transitional period from majuscule writing to minuscule writing.
  • In the 9th century, the Carolingian minuscule, a font whose letters are still used today, spread.
  • In the 11th-12th centuries, Gothic writing developed. Gothic font has many varieties according to the nature of the style: texture, bastard, rotunda, decorative, Lombard versailles, and later fraction.
  • The round-Gothic, Swabian font became a transitional form to the Renaissance writing. At this time, attention to everything antique increased, copies of ancient texts were rewritten in a font called “antiqua”. At the same time, the first treatises appeared on the structure of letters based on a square, its diagonals, and a circle inscribed in a square. The author of the treatise is Luca Pacioli.
  • In Geoffroy Tory's treatise The Flowering Meadow, the letters are built in a square, with sides divided into 10 parts.
  • Albrecht Dürer developed his own font, the letters of which also fit into the square.
  • In the 15th century, typographers produced new typefaces. Among the pioneers were Nicolas Janson, Aldus Manutius and Claude Garamont. Garamon's font has become the basis for many modern fonts. It harmoniously combines low contrast, a smooth transition from the main stroke to the hairstyle, roundness and slope of the axes in the letters O, S, Y.
  • The art of type was further developed in the second half of the 18th and early 19th centuries in the fonts of Didot.

Slavic fonts

In the 18th century, along with European ones, Russian fonts began to develop, which had previously developed independently, had a Greek basis and were called Cyrillic and Glagolitic.

The most ancient typefaces - charter and semi-character - were executed with all rigor and clarity, following the rule - the charter - from which their names came. With the development of writing, cursive writing appeared, which was distinguished by a fast, free style, with flourishes, loops that went far beyond the boundaries of the rows. Cursive writing becomes the art of calligraphy in the 17th century. She wrote letters and official documents.

Ustav, semi-ustav, cursive, ligature are forms of handwritten font. In the middle of the 16th century, the first books appeared in typographic type. One of these books was The Apostle by Ivan Fedorov, published in 1564.

A new civil book font was approved by Peter I and introduced in 1708. It was clear, rounded and rational - a kind of synthesis of traditional fonts and antiqua.

Modern fonts

At the turn of the 18th - 19th centuries, significant changes took place in the art of fonts - new various fonts appeared for different needs (books, newspapers, posters, posters, advertisements). A new font was developed - Egyptian, which was distinguished by the same thickness of all lines and serifs. A little later, a grotesque (chopped) font appeared, the lines of the letters of which were of the same thickness, but did not have serifs. A whole family of grotesque fonts has been developed.

The 20th century gave birth to new grotesque and sans-serif fonts that emphasized a new style in architecture and art - constructivism. Popular new typefaces include Paul Renner's Futura, Kassandra's Peño, Jacob Erbar's Erbar Grotesque, and Eric Gill's Gill Grotesque.

Main Characteristics of Fonts

  • Style: straight, italic;
  • Saturation: light, bold, bold (the ratio of the thickness of the stroke to the width of the intra-letter gap);
  • Width: normal, narrow, wide, fixed width font;
  • Size (point size) in points (1 point = 1/72 inch);
  • Definition;
  • Contrast;
  • Distinguishability;
  • Readability;
  • Capacity;

The font size is a parameter that indicates the size of its characters in height. The size includes the height of the lowercase letter with the longest descender and the space below it. The size of the font size is determined by the number of points. The most common text fonts in size are 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12. Fonts for size 4 and 5 are used very rarely Letters - a letter designation in the address of an object, allowing you to find it faster.

Artistic appearance of fonts

  • Decorative.
  • Dynamic.
  • Elegant. Roman capital, antiqua, academic fonts. They are used for literary and art history texts, design of architectural projects, writing texts on memorial plaques.
  • Italics. It is used for writing texts of letters of honor, congratulatory addresses, congratulations and invitations.
  • Monumental. Chopped poster, slab font and grotesque. It is used for writing slogans, posters, banners.
  • Free.
  • Strict. It is used on diagrams, diagrams, graphs, technical and production posters, indexes.
  • Folklore (Ukrainian, Arabic, etc.).

A typeface is a polygraphic term that combines a set of fonts that differ in size, style, the presence or absence of serifs at the ends of lines, the ratio of the height of uppercase and lowercase characters, the size of ascenders and descenders, density, but are similar in character and distinctive drawing signs.


You can use the pangram phrase to view the character styles of a font, as well as its readability. A pangram (from Greek “each letter”), or a different letter, is a text that uses all or almost all the letters of the alphabet. Pangrams are used to demonstrate fonts, check text transmission over communication lines, test printing devices, etc.

Without «ъ»:

  • Друг мой эльф! Яшке б свёз птиц южных чащ!
  • В чащах юга жил бы цитрус? Да, но фальшивый экземпляр!

Each letter is used once:

  • Любя, съешь щипцы, — вздохнёт мэр, — кайф жгуч.
  • Шеф взъярён тчк щипцы с эхом гудбай Жюль.
  • Эй, жлоб! Где туз? Прячь юных съёмщиц в шкаф.
  • Экс-граф? Плюш изъят. Бьём чуждый цен хвощ!
  • Эх, чужак! Общий съём цен шляп (юфть) — вдрызг!

Some letters are used more than once:

  • Съешь ещё этих мягких французских булок, да выпей чаю — эта фраза используется в панели управления Windows при предварительном просмотре шрифтов (содержит все буквы русского алфавита, кроме "ж").
  • Съешь ещё этих мягких французских булок, да выпей же чаю — эта легкозапоминающаяся панграмма содержит все буквы русского алфавита.

Source: ru.wikipedia.org

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