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and spirit of the times

Typography always followed the spirit of the times, the trend of fashion and the technical possibilities. Baroque architecture for example was very grandiose. Dukes ornamented the buildings with sorts of stucco, cherubs and much gold. They celebrated effusive parties, with splendidly laid tables. This life-style is also reflected in the types used at that time. The effect of baroque types is rather precious, noble and festive.

Later, in classicism, they went back to the simple and geometrically constructed. The types were clearly constructed and showed among other things a high contrast between fat and fine. In the thirties there was again a similar trend (note: Bauhaus) in which the linear antiqua came on top.

Typography today
Since then the world has has gone on changing. Attitudes to many subjects have become more loose and informal. We live today – like at the beginning of the Renaissance – in a transition to a new age, which is signified by a different view of the world and the future and also by completely new structures of communication. Certainly, this effect also becomes visible in the shaping-style of printed matters.

The adaption of the typographic design to today's taste came with the technical possibilities of computer-publishing. However doubtful is the fact that suddenly anyone can shape and set printed matters. There lies actually the danger for the »cultural heritage« of types and typography.

Today, typography is not generally worse than before. Merely the amount of printed matters shaped by laymen evokes this impression. Shaping good typography requires lots of theoretic knowledges and even more practice and experience.
But this ought to be practice and experince in handling typographic possibilities and not only knowledges about the programs needed to realize an idea. Only good tools never have made any master. A typograph just knowing cliparts will produce picture-books instead of well-shaped publications.