1st font ever made

MafaldaRemoaldo's picture

Hi everyone,
I'm studying Communication Design at Fine Arts from Oporto (Portugal) and this year is all dedicated to typography. My teacher gave me this exercice to do for tuesday: to create an alfabet with different typefaces that must content fonts from different époces, authors and fisionomies. I've been searching about the earliest typefaces used since the Gutenberg invented the letterpress and I couldn't find the 1st font ever used. Do you have any idea of what it can be?


Mafalda :)

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

I don't believe Gutenberg ever named his face, but I've been wrong before.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

quad, that appears to be the font, but I don't see any name for it.

John Hudson's picture

This is usually referred to as the 42-line Bible type, i.e the type used in Gutenberg's first folio Bible, which had 42 lines of text per page.

EBDesign's picture

Gutenberg Textura is a version of that typeface that works for me when I need something similar.


Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Making an alphabet with type designs from all the different eras is pretty much doomed to failure by the way. Ask your teacher why since repetition and homogenization are so vital to type design how in the world can they expect you to come up with anything good.

hrant's picture

She said "Fine Arts". :-/


Té Rowan's picture

And @Ryan swings... and misses. Exercise, not product.

oldnick's picture

And @Ryan swings... and misses. Exercise, not product.

Well, duh: Ryan is legend for his lack of punctuation and insight…

Celeste's picture

According to some scholars, the “DK-Type”, also used in the 36-line Bible, was probably made before the textura used in the 42-line Bible.

Joshua Langman's picture

The B-42 type, Gutenberg's bible type, is the first or one of the first — Western — fonts. Look up a foundry called Alter Littera for some nice digital recreations.

altsan's picture

Walden Font has what looks like a decent implementation as well; it seems you can only buy it in a set with their other gothic faces, but it's USD$60 for the lot, which is pretty reasonable (and some of the others are quite nice-looking).

quadibloc's picture

Among free fonts, I found a revival of Schwabacher:


if not a version of Gutenberg's type.

Ah: 1454 Gutenberg Bible is a free one by John H. Schmidt.

Té Rowan's picture

There's also "GoodCityModern", wherever that may be found. Can't remember atm if Dieter Steffmann has done a Gutenberg face, but he has done a bunch of German blackletter.

HVB's picture

@Té - yes, Dieter did an 'update' of GutenbergTextura, adding more characters. It's available at Typoasis.

Other versions not mentioned above include Fraktur Gutenberg B42 by Hans Zinkenk and 1456 Gutenberg by Gilles LeCorre. John Schmidt's font, mentioned by Quadibloc, is actually named 1454 Gutenberg Bibel [sic].

- Herb

Té Rowan's picture

Bibel is German for 'bible', btw.

Alter Littera's picture

Look up a foundry called Alter Littera for some nice digital recreations.

Thanks for mentioning. You might want to have a look at this post.
Kind regards.

Nick Shinn's picture

Altarpiece of Pellegrinus II, Cividale, Italy, c.1200
The typography was created by hitting punches into the metal.

Chris Dean's picture

@MafaldaRemoaldo: Before you can get a useful answer, you must first inform the thread what you mean by font. For example, if you mean something close to “the oldest instance of mark-making used to communicate with a fixed set of glyphs” then we can go thousands of years before Gutenberg.

Figure 1: Something for you to Google.

And for the record, the Chinese invented a movable type system like Gutenberg’s about 100 years sooner.

Already, we have departed from Latin glyphs to logograms.

Before you go any further, define what you mean by font.

And if you are going to use a forum to assist you in your research, be sure to cite and reference it in your paper. The proper way to do this (according to the American Psychological Association publication guidelines) is:

Dean, C. T. (Year, Month Date). Re: Thread title (Online forum comment). Retrieved from http://url of the thread

Simply replace my name with the person you are citing or giving credit to.

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