from A Short History of the Printed Word (Warren Chappell)

What are the bench marks that can serve as references and guides in tracing the history of printing? I would put first an understanding of the alphabet, and an appreciation of its practical as well as its esthetic aspects. Second, a regard for the sculptural nature of type as it was first produced by Gutenberg and perfected by the punch-cutters of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. As third and fourth bench marks I would suggest awareness of the arrangement of type and the actual impression from it. These four together determine the form and texture of a piece of printing, and are outside the time flow of people, places, events, developments, and dates. It is possible to put the best piece of contemporary printing beside a page of the Gutenberg Bible, and to compare the two without any concessions being asked for the latter because it was produced more than five hundred years ago.

—Warren Chappell
—from A Short History of the Printed Word

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *