Typography is viewed by many typographers as a craft that has a long history dating its origin from the times ancient currency was made. Some of the elements found in this type of craft are older than the first writing systems and even civilization. During time, different typographic designs have been invented and the basic elements of the design enhanced to the typographic designs we know today.
Typographic book design was introduced in Italy from Germany as a style where books were printed with movable types. The Renaissance was a period when the Italian printers reinvented the whole design of a book including the page layout, illustration and ornaments. Johannes de Spira. Erhard Ratdolt, Nicolas Jenson and Francesco da Bolgna are some of the pioneers in typographic book design during the Renaissance in Italy. Humanism was an intellectual movement that promoted typography in Italy during the Renaissance period. The humanists had the belief that this type of writing could offer educational advantages for one to lead a moral and effective life. In the attempt to understand this powerful style, scholarships were offered to those who wished to study this type of book design to enrich their lives. Most elites hired humanists to teach their children how to write elegantly and classical morality.
In the 15th century, the popes were convinced by the humanists that it was important for them to learn this new art of writing so as to portray the popes as learned and powerful in the eyes of the people. During the Renaissance period, sacred texts were well decorated in elegance f the script, binding and illumination.
The Italian Renaissance became less common due to the introduction of the Sack of Rome in the year 1427. As a result, the culture of the Italian Renaissance was moved to France where it was well embraced due to the support awarded by Francis1. He provided support to authors, humanists and visual artists. Despite the political instability in France, scholarships were provided to educate people in the school of book design. Printers produced books with fine print which are simple, have a beautiful typography and remarkable legibility and elegant ornamentation. This eliminated bully gothic typography and clustered page layouts giving way to a new and lighter style. Henri Estienne, Simon de Colines, Claude Garamond and Geoffroy Tory are among the leaders in typographic book design in France. Due to the efforts of these leaders, Lyons and Basel because centres where typographic book designs were taught.
Conflicts that erupted between the French troops and the church wrecked havoc causing a massacre which resulted to decades of war that ended French typography. Just as the innovative designs of book typography were passed to Italy from German and from Italy to France, they were passed from France to other countries including the cities of Amsterdam and Antwerp.
In conclusion, the Renaissance period was a time of great influx in Europe. During this period, knowledge was important and thus book typography was enhanced by different invention. Book covers and page layouts were revolutionized to be more legible, less bulky and more beautiful. This was by incorporating modern writing styles as well as ornamentation to give the book an aesthetic appeal. Typographic book design was passed from Germany to Italy, from Italy to France and finally from France to other low countries in Europe.