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Simon Loxley is a freelance graphic designer, author of Type: The Secret History Of Letters and the forthcoming Printer’s Devil: The Life And Work Of Frederic Warde. He is editor and designer of Ultrabold, the journal of St Bride Library, London.
Serifs, sans serifs and… scripts. In theory not a bad typographic palette to play with, but when it comes to practice, the options are always far fewer.
One member of that stylistic trio could never quite punch its weight. But over the last few years we have seen something of a rebirth and revitalization of scripts, a category that once represented a care home for the typographically underemployed. But why has this come about, and why was one needed in the first place?
I had thought of terms like “intellectual property” or “intellectual theft” as being of fairly recent provenance, so my eye was caught by the latter’s use in a headline of a 1930 edition of the American trade journal The American Printer.
The article it fronted proved to be equally intriguing, a response by the president of American Type Founders to a June 1929 article in the German journal Gebrauchsgraphik by the designer Rudolf Koch calling ATF a “highway robber of German intellectual property”.