History and Consequences:
Printing and Graphic Design
People have been writing since the beginning of time making marks on the walls of a cave or simply just drawing in the sand, but how did we ever get to where we are today? In today’s world print media is all around us, everywhere we look! Print media can be any written word or words such as a newspaper, book, or magazine. Written text can now be computer generated and is easily transferrable. Although when we think of print media as printing of text, print media also includes pictures and art that is transferred to paper and can be recreated through printing.
Typography is creating text intended to be printed from. When people create text that has a certain design and style it is referred to as a typeface. (1) These typefaces that we create today stem as far back as people in ancient times. Whether it is the Chinese or Egyptians each culture created its own typefaces in ancient times. Characteristics of different styles include similar shapes, curves, thickness, spacing, size and scale of the type. Many of these factors are determined by the tools used to create these words or symbol and the surfaces used to create them on.
The firs record of moveable or printable type dates back to 1455 AD when Johann Gutenberg printed the first modern book, his bible. (2) The book was printed in Germany using the famous Gutenberg press. Johann’s invention would arguably become one of the world most famous inventions, and not only that, serve as a very crucial tool in the future of print media. (2) Gutenberg’s original prints to day may be the most valuable form of print media in existence. (2) Before the Gutenberg press books were very rare as they had to be written or scribed. Most of this was done only by monks and wealthy scholars. Gutenberg’s press utilized the use of paper much like the paper we use today, made from wood and fiber. The invention of the printing press would ultimately lead to the use of more paper.
Paper mills were soon established in all areas of Europe in the late 1400’s as it is necessary to have paper to be printed on. (3) Earlier scribes were written using a wide pen made of metal and dipped into ink to write. The strokes used to create what we now call “gothic” typeface, had to be precise, and this made writing a timeous process. Gutenberg, when developing his press, used his knowledge of metal work to create an almost exact replica of this early typeface. Many letters could be created and rearranged to form any words necessary to be printed. (3 p.2)
This sort of typeface lasted for a while however beautiful, it could sometimes be difficult to read and others began the development of new typefaces in an attempt to make reading easier and modernize the art. (3 p.2) One style that became very popular and almost a standard in the 1800”s is known as sans serif. This type was created by William Caslon. (3 p.3)He created this type intentionally to cause text to have better readability. There were many typefaces created by various founders in the years following and many are classified as a type of serif. (3 p.3) Actually, the art of typefaces had basically become a science.
Print media however, does not stop at just text. Also included is the idea of printing pictures and art. People have been drawing, painting and sculpting for centuries. Although not prevalent until the Industrialization period Graphic print of art would burst into everyday life both in Europe and the US. (4) In the Early 1930’s a new wave of Industrialization and technology would burst into existence and the need for print media would go through the roof. Also, as a consequence of this period of booming growth the US would become a thriving nation consumer based nation. Print media would soon overtake the political movements in an effort to win at office and persuade the American citizens. From there advertising methods for new technologies to be bought and sold by the American consumer would change the face of American business forever.
Today this type of media is everywhere, in fact, it is almost inescapable. American society is now built upon a foundation of consumer markets and capitalism. Cities like New York and Los Angles have become media meccas. Multi-billion dollar businesses have utilized this art of graphic design not only to build America into the nation it is today but also to grant themselves financial freedom. These Companies use graphic design to advertise and promote their products. Coca-cola for example spends roughly 4 billion dollars on global advertising annually. (5) Many of our major corporation’s owners and celebrity figures also help out in charity service and in helping other nations become better places to live. It was the American Industrial Era that opened the doors for America to grow to be such a powerful, prosperous nation. Without the invention of the printing press the country we live in today may not be as well developed and wealthy of a nation. Print media has definitely changed the face of the world over time.
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