Fonts- The Mood Enhancers
In the late 1800s, the era of mass-production inspired a cultural counter trend toward recapturing the beauty of days gone by, called the Arts and Crafts movement. During this time, Frederic Goudy cut 122 faces combining beauty and function, including Goudy Old Style. Sans-serif faces, though not unknown, received little attention until 1916, when Edward Johnston developed Johnston's Railway Type for the London Underground.
Various schools of design emerged in the '20s and '30s: Art deco, Futurist, Constructivists and other movements inspired typefaces that reflected the philosophies of the time. The Bauhaus school opened in 1919 Germany and was disbanded by the '30s. But its philosophy of "form follows function" and "less is more" influenced art and design for decades to come. An example of an outgrowth of this philosophy is the swiss designer Max Meidinger's creation of Helvetica in the '50s.
In the 20th century, some designers achieved fame with thoughtful new approaches to typographic creation or prolific contributions. In the late '50s, designer Adrian Frutiger broke new ground by deliberately designing a family of fonts with varying weights and in both serif and sans-serif styles—the Univers family. Beginning in the '60s, Edward Benguiat introduced more than 500 typefaces, including Benguiat Goth, ITC Souvenir and ITC Bookman.
With desktop publishing in the '80s and further digital advances in the '90s came the development of software programs that automate the mechanics of font design, vastly increasing market selections. Designers continue to introduce fonts that use older letterforms as their inspiration. But fonts introduced in the '90s also include many that reflect the digital drive of our times.
Kate Clair, a professor of communications design at Kutztown University, observes that some modern fonts look as if they are collages of precedents. One example she points to is Jonathan Narnbrook's Prototype, which shows letters that seem to be created half from a block letter font and half from an elegantly tapered and curving font. Other fonts have a distinctive modern look, she remarks, including those with slightly jagged edges, as if they've been made of square pixels not quite rounded off.