The Justin Howes Memorial Lecture: Progress? On the evolution of Arabic type
14 March 2019
The history of typography is also a history of technologies. As the means of multiplying texts evolved through time, different tools left distinct marks on letterforms. This dynamic accelerated from the late nineteenth century, as technological developments began to radically change the making and setting of type. At increasingly shorter intervals new machines and techniques shaped how text was represented and multiplied.
Arabic typography is no exception to this, but its history is shorter. Only when in the West print was industrialised began Muslim printers to use letterpress printing on a large scale. In consequence, the mechanisation of Arabic typography occurred at an earlier evolutionary stage, lending machinery a key role in its development.
In this talk Titus discusses this history from the perspective of progress: He will present key moments and contributions, consider drivers and motivations, and query if and how new technologies really did result in advances for Arabic typography.
Titus Nemeth is a type-designer and typographer with a special interest in the Arabic script. An alumnus of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at Reading, Titus has pursued an independent career for over ten years. He has taught in France (ESAD Amiens), Morocco (ESAV Marrakesh), Qatar (VCUQ), and the UK (Reading). His doctoral research formed the foundation for Arabic Type-Making in the Machine Age, recently published with Brill Publishers.
Justin Howes died on 21 February 2005. A good friend to the St Bride Library and the wider typographic community in 1999 he founded the original Friends of St Bride Library with James Mosley. He was not only a distinguished scholar, whose wide-ranging research was making an important contribution to our understanding of the types and lettering of the past, but he also put that scholarship into practice, learning to cast type by hand and to demonstrate to others the techniques of a secretive and mysterious trade. This annual lecture series is given in his memory.
St Bride Foundation St Bride Foundation, 14 Bride Ln, EC4Y 8EQ London
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