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Incunabula

The period of the 15th century prints, i.e. incunabula (Latin in cunabulis = in a cradle, in nappies). The earliest prints, from the time of the Johannes Gutenberg's workshop until the end of the 15th century, are also called paleotypes. Read more...

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Early classical printing

In the 16th century, the printing industry was systematically departing from the imitation of the form of medieval manuscripts. Woodcut initials and illustrations printed simultaneously with the typeset text was used often.  Read more...

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Mature classical printing

There noteworthy printing houses were based in Kraków (Wirzbięta, Rodecki, Sternacki and others) and Gdańsk (including Rethe, Hünefeld, Heweliusz). In 1585, the Radziwiłł printing house in Brest-Litovsk published the dissentative Bible, translated and edited by a dozen authors, an excellent monument of the Polish language. In 1594, Januszowski published Nowy Karakter Polski in Kraków, with the ortography of Kochanowski, Górnicki and his own, printed in the original Polish typeface.  Read more...

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Late classical printing

At the beginning of the century, Paweł Pater opened a printing house and a school in Gdańsk, where production of types, printing and bookbinding were taught. His book Typis literarum... is a Latin-German textbook covering, among others, casting and printing tools and differentiation of typefaces.  Read more...

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From craft to industry

Printing was developing rapidly in all three partitions of Poland. Type foundries were established in Warsaw (Dąbrowski, Benecke, Glücksberg, Gissernia Skarbowa), as well as in Lviv and Kraków. The first lithographic printing houses were also established (Siestrzyński, Chodkiewicz). Natan Glücksberg's participation in the Warsaw Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1821 and his efforts to gain acceptance among artists is the first attempt to ennoble printing – typography as a field of artistic creativity.  Read more...

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Mechanisation of the printing processes

Thanks to the stormy development of the press and readership, printing houses were installing fast machines, and in Kraków, Żegota Wywiałkowski published a textbook Wartkotłocznie (1858) in the Printing House of "Czas" (Time). At the end of the 19th century, Foucher and Küstermann system type casting machines (producing 30-50 thousand types a day) were installed in the Orgelbrand and Ungra foundries.  Read more...

1851–1900 (24)
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From letterpress to offset printing

Along with the technical progress, the awareness of the social role of typography was gradually growing, not only in its aesthetic but also functional aspects. As early as 1905, in the Congress Kingdom, the school textbook regulations set the maximum number of fifteen letters in one square centimeter of text.  Read more...

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Final period of traditional printing methods

The peak period of Gutenberg-initiated letterpress printing technology and its almost complete supersession by offset printing. Typesetting machines (linotype, monotype) were becoming a relic of the past, type foundries were going downhill. Phototyping techniques were gradually developed, in which texts were created on photosensitive materials, ready for the preparation of offset printing plates. Read more...


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Beginning of the digital era

In the mid 1980s, the Desktop Publishing Revolution took place in the US and Western European publishing industries. Apple Macintosh computers, and later PCs with Microsoft Windows, editor and illustration programs (QuarkXPress, PageMaker, Calamus, CorelDraw, FreeHand, Illustrator), as well as PostScript – a universal language for controlling printers and platesetter developed by Adobe - made the publishing process move from typesetters to designers’ desks. Professionals and amateurs alike used the Altsys Fontographer editor to create ready-to-use digital fonts in Type 1 and TrueType formats. Read more...

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OpenType Fonts and digital text

The beginning of the 21st century was the beginning of the digital circulation of text. Windows 2000, Word, InDesign and the early WWW bring order to digital text encoding: thanks to the introduction of Unicode standard, transferring Polish digital text between different operating systems no longer required tedious conversion. The new OpenType format makes it possible for the same font to include characters from different scripts for the first time, as well as typesetting functions such as small caps and ligatures. Large producers (Adobe, FontFont, Linotype, Monotype) and individual publishers of typefaces around the world started to include Polish diacritics in their fonts. The newly emerging online font stores (MyFonts) give Polish graphic designers immediate access to the world's typographic resources – price was the only remaining barrier. Read more...

2000–2010 (43)

2011–2015 (58)
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Variable fonts and screen typography

From the time of Gutenberg, typography was synonymous with printing and paper. However, recent years have witnessed the rapid development of computer screens and mobile devices as a medium through which text reaches recipients – from e-books to short texts on social media and instant messaging. Web browsers can display complex typesetting with any fonts embedded in the HTML code. Thanks to Google Fonts, the Polish ‘Lato’ font family is the most read screen typeface in the world created by an independent team (Dziedzic, Twardoch, Nikoltchev). Read more...

2016–2018 (68)

2019–2020 (77)