Thursday, September 18, 2008

Printing press, Humanism, the Renaissance and Reformation

Many of us as graphic designers neglect to see the origination of our art form. Without Gutenberg’s invention of movable type who knows how typography and printing would have ended up like. Although others attempted Gutenberg, accomplished greatness. Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type was an innovation in it’s own. Although he didn’t receive any funding or credit for his invention at the time, Gutenberg’s basic process remained unchanged for centuries. Through his knowledge of being a goldsmith and metalworker he was able to build on the concept of typography, there his invention was born.

The invention of the printing press was a major leap in the history of graphic design. Typography opened up a whole new world to the evolution of mass communication. It is believed that without the invention of typography that the protestant reformation could have happened at all. Luther and Pope Leo X used broadsides and tracts in religious disputes. This allowed them to reach a large amount of people throughout the continent.

With the help of typography and woodcut illustrations some of the most amazing books were created. There were many block printers and woodcarvers that became nervous upon the invention of the printing press. They felt the invention of the press would make the need for their services obsolete. It wasn't until Albrecht Pfister began to illustrate his books with woodcut prints. This was a major step to incorporate both the printing press and the woodcut designs.

Through altering the perception Renaissance painters and artists introduced different visual systems. This change in perception made people think differently towards the world. The newly introduced visual systems include the use of a single light source, light and shadow modeling the fixed viewpoint and linear and atmospheric perspective. This led people toward linear thought and logic, introducing individualism a major step in the renaissance.

At this point illiteracy was on the decline. Books were being produced less expensively than ever before. This allowed all statuses of people to own books. In addition to wide spread communication of human rights and sovereignty of the people printing stabilized and unified languages. French, German and the English language through the creation of printing all became standard in the use for mass media communication.

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