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.
—from A Short History of the Printed Word