A typical type design desktop situation from the late 1980s, comprised of an Apple Macintosh that runs Ikarus M software, keyboard and mouse, letterform master drawings marked for digitization using an Aristo tablet and a sensor device. (Reconstructed from Erik Spiekermann’s collection, photographed by Norman Posselt, Berlin)

This article was first published in Yearbook of Type #3, (Slanted Publishers, 2018). Read it here with additional images in full color and extended captions.

Tools and technology have always had a strong influence on new type designs. The second half of the 20th century is particularly determined by linear and concurrent developments in an environment of constantly changing and transitioning technologies that were used to design and produce type — with manufacturers rising and disappearing as well as new tools eclipsing in and fading out again.

In a small pamphlet issued by the D. Stempel type foundry in 1953…

Ferdinand P. Ulrich

Typographer, researcher, frequent educator and writer, occasional type designer

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