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Handwritten letterforms of the mid-15th century embodied 3000 years of evolved letter design, and were the natural models for letterforms in systematized typography.The scribal letter known as textur or textualis, produced by the strong gothic spirit of blackletter from the hands of German area scribes, served as the model for the first text types.
A second typeface of about 300 characters designed for the 42-line Bible c.1455 was probably cut by the goldsmith Hans Dunne with the help of two others—Götz von Shlettstadt and Hans von Speyer.Cultural tradition ensured that German typography and type design remained true to the gothic/blackletter spirit; but the parallel influence of the humanist and neo-classical typography in Italy (the second country where movable type printing was done) catalyzed textur into four additional sub-styles that were distinct, structurally rich and highly disciplined: Bastarda, fraktur, rotunda, and Schwabacher.The rapid spread of movable type printing across Europe produced additional Gothic, half-Gothic and Gothic-to-roman transitional types. In 1476 William Caxton having learned his craft on the Continent printed the first books in England with a so-called Bâtarde type (an early Schwabacher design), but soon abandoned it.Johann Bämler's Schwabacher, Augsburg appeared in 1474. The early printers of Spain were Germans who began by printing in up-to-date roman types but soon gave these up and adopted Gothic typefaces based on the letterforms of Spanish manuscripts.This article is about the history of Western typography from mid-15th century to late 18th century.
For the development of typography in Asia, see History of printing in East Asia. Contemporary typographers view typography as craft with a very long history tracing its origins back to the first punches and dies used to make seals and currency in ancient times.
The basic elements of typography are at least as old as civilization and the earliest writing systems—a series of key developments that were eventually drawn together as a systematic craft.
Typography, type-founding and typeface design began as closely related crafts in mid-15th-century Europe with the introduction of movable type printing at the junction of the medieval era and the Renaissance.
Valencia in the Kingdom of Aragon was the location of the first press, established in 1473.
From there printers moved to other cities to set up presses.
Roman types were used by the printers of Salamanca for their editions of classical authors.