After the first lecture of ‘Writing to Typography’, we were exposed to the history of the evolution and development of how type was formed with the earliest form of writing on petroglyphs to the fonts we often use nowadays.
Personally, I was intrigued and visually attracted to the font, “Baskerville” – an English type, as it reminds me of the Netflix show “Peaky Blinders” which is about an English mafia family based in Birmingham, English in the late 18th century which often uses this typeface font in the film.
Coincidentally, after learning about this font during the lecture, John Baskerville – the creator of the Baskerville types, practiced his artistry as a printer in Birmingham, England. The Baskerville typeface became a common font to be used in England for books, newspapers, and prints. Hence, it was amazing to know that the production team in “Peaky Blinders” took consideration of the typeface and details used during that period of time to accentuate the style and vibe of an old English town in that film and I really appreciate it.
The Baskerville font was developed in 1752 by John Baskerville. His typefaces are all about creating hierarchy and contrast using purely type. The Baskerville’s types are classified as a Transitional typeface – stylistically a mixture of Old Style and Modern typefaces. The axis of symmetry is vertical.
His typeface used to be criticized for being too thin and narrow due to the high contrast from thick to thin strokes as it was hurtful to the eyes. To some, it was known as the thinner version of the Caslon font which is another English transitional typeface. However, it was notably admired by Benjamin Franklin and it regained popularity in 1917.
The Baskerville font has a delicate, sophisticated feel to it and high readability factor. Due to the attributes of long, elegant wedge-shaped serifs and subtle transfer of stroke weight from thick to thin with perpendicular stresses. This typeface is an excellent choice for body text and it became a standard typeface for long text in the late 18th century for books and display purposes, and still widely used till today.