Penning, Printing and Publishing

siobhan208 —  June 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

In my project, I have adopted the same idea as Abbey; that in the 10 years time, we may revert to styles of the past. A mixing of rustic looking styles with technology is already apparent today. Think of the artwork on websites like Dropbox or Twitter. Or our very own Birmingham 2022 blog! There is a trend at the moment of making things look handmade and individual.

Twitter-Whale         dropbox

Thinking about the future, I thought particularly about words, and how they are distributed. The internet is at the centre of almost all arts and culture today, and we are still discovering the repercussions of this; catching up with our own technology. The Printing Press seemed to me to be an invention that had a similar size impact on arts, culture and the distribution of information. I’ve therefore been creating a (whistlestop!) timeline of how arts and culture have been shared, from medieval times to the present day, and looking forward to 2022. Appreciating what could happen in ten years time involves looking at how things have changed and evolved in the past.

Since 1422, when my timeline starts, we’ve created hundreds of different ways of distributing and consuming information. Handwritten manuscripts, which were created by monks in monasteries, and were mostly religious. Mass produced printed text which allowed wider distribution of political manuscripts and literature, and improved public literacy. Diaries and novels, giving a voice to the individual, and telling the stories of people from different classes, not just nobility. In recent years, thanks to the internet and blogging, you don’t even need to be published to have hundreds or thousands of people read your work. These developments have meant that to consume literature, or to find literature relevant to you, you no longer need to be highly educated, rich, white, or male (although it does still help …) You don’t even need to have access to a library or bookshop. On the whole, the inventions of the modern era have made arts and culture much more inclusive.

One of the things I used to demonstrate the rapid expansion and change in writing, was the fonts in which I presented each of the dates in my timeline. The typeface of each year shows how text of the time was printed, and also reflects elements of the culture at the time. For example the 1990s typeface is very futuristic, sitting in the midst of the digital age. In contrast, the Elizabethan typeface is much more fluid. It looks like calligraphy, representing a time when people wrote with ink and quills. I think it reflects the cultural revolution of the age; home of the renaissance man, and a golden age for theatre.


Rather than creating the dates on a computer, I decided to hand-write the different fonts. In the modern spirit of mixing old and new, I felt like a pencil drawn digital font might encompass this well.



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