Who was the first typographer?

Chris Dean's picture

Who was the first typographer?

David Rault's picture

if by typographer you mean the first man who carved separated block letters in order to assemble them to print a full page, then it's johannes gensfleisch, aka gutenberg. i guess.

dr

Lex Kominek's picture

I'm not sure about that - wasn't movable type being used in Asia centuries earlier?

I agree that the definition of "typographer" has to be clarified in order to answer this question.

- Lex

Chris Dean's picture

I operationalize the definition of typographer as

"One who sets text to make it easier to read"

Not who invented printing, movable type etc.

And I'm not interested in defining what "typographer" means.

The question is:

Who was the first person to set text to make it easier to read?

David Rault's picture

muller, im afraid your definition is a little too vague, still. claude garamond, for example, by creating a truely wonderful typeface (though, not from scratch) and putting his letters together in a fancy and elaborate way, made his books quite easy to read. still he was not the first one: before him, griffo, augereau, jenson... and actually, to come back to your definition (which by no mean is the definition of typographer, by the way), you say "to make text easier to read": easier than... what?

dr

Si_Daniels's picture

>Who was the first person to set text to make it easier to read?

The Romans, the asnwer is always "The Romans".

David Rault's picture

Damn, sil, you're right.

the romans.

damn.

Chris Dean's picture

Good points.

My question is:

Who was the first person to set text in order to improve reading comprehension?

Chris Dean's picture

Larson, Dyson, Stiff, Hartley, Santos-Lonsdale etc do this sort of work.

Who did it first?

Tinker was 1963, but he was more into eye movements.

russellm's picture

I don't think anyone ever set out to be incomprehensible. Unreadable books don't sell well.

I'm no type historian, but I'd agree with Griffo.

(edit: Does posting 12 minutes apart count as simultaneous? Guess not, but I didn't see your last post.)

Dwiggins, 1880 - 1956.

-=®=-

blank's picture

Does type have to be movable or simply reproducible for its user to count as a typographer?

Dan Gayle's picture

Who was the first person to set text in order to improve reading comprehension?

What have any of the people of the 20th century improved upon that wasn't already there in the Incunabula? Obviously, some scribes had to have been working on this for a long time, because Griffo and Jensen and co. didn't just pull it out of thin air.

David Rault's picture

oh well if we are going this far in the description, then... runic tables have been carved in order to be understandable, its pretty ancient, but i don't know the name of the guy who did it.

ok, i think i'm fed up with this neverending subject.

dr

Jackie Frant's picture

Who was the first person to set text in order to improve reading comprehension?

Ottmar Mergenthaler - for the Parisian Expo. He created a machine that set type in a way that it was extremely easy - and that technique lasted about 100 years.

AchillesG's picture

I think Christopher's question is --if I understood correctly-- who was the person to employ empirical research --rather than convention-- to optimize a design for legibility and reading comprehension (which is only a subcategory of typography).

If that is indeed the case then I have absolutely no idea...

(Us Greeks are mighty helpful)

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