[artinfo] cfp: Typography in media historical perspective

Geert Lovink geert at desk.nl
Thu Oct 22 16:55:39 CEST 2015

Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis / Journal for Media History

Call for proposals special Issue 'Typography in media historical perspective'

Editors Jack Post & Ewan Lentjes

Since Gutenberg's typographic system has been at the heart of media 
culture. According to Marshall McLuhan typographic printing is the 
most influential technology in the history of the West. Typography 
evolved into a complex and dynamic cultural system of information 
processing and transfer of knowledge. The subsequent media 
revolutions especially those of the 19th and 20th century changed the 
distribution and reception of text and information profoundly and 
with it traditional conceptions of reading, writing and intellectual 
practices. The recent introduction of digital technologies force us 
to reflect on the age-old typographical conceptions of the book, 
letter, lay out and type and not in the least the craft of 

Typography - and letter design in particular - had traditionally been 
the professional domain of a small elite of highly specialised 
craftsmen. This changed radically with the industrialisation and the 
introduction of new technologies for letter design, printing and 
reproduction. The profession of typographer gradually changed into 
that of graphic designer. In the twentieth century, the 'graphic 
design' of multimedia such as film and television, and then of web 
design and interactive design, led to a further expansion of the work 
of the graphic designer. We are now at the next turning point, the 
knowledge and skills of letter and text design have been eased away 
from the hands of the experts. They have been replaced by an open 
exchange of knowledge and access to the tools: the Do It Yourself 

The new media culture in all its forms is the expression of a 
structural revolution that we're still experiencing. Essentially, it 
stands for a different way of viewing of communication, which so far 
we can only explain by showing how it differs from the 'old' 
(typographical) print culture. We are living in the midst of radical 
changes to the cultural system of typography with far-reaching 
implications for information processing and transfer of knowledge. 
This special issue of TMG focuses on what we can learn about the 
cultural, aesthetic and social changes related to earlier 
'revolutions' in typography, such as the invention of the printing 
press in the second half of the fifteenth century, the forming of a 
new kind of literacy and public debate over the 16th century, the 
processes of standardization and rationalization of typeforms and 
expression in the late 17th century, the development of mass printing 
the 19th century or the avant-garde movements in the 20th century.

Contributions should preferably focus on topics related to 
Dutch/Flemish media and communication's history. Below follows a list 
of possible themes (not exhaustive):

- typography and distribution of knowledge and information: the modern era

- typography and the public: scientific development and public debate

- type design: the craft of typographer

- printing techniques and technologies (a the new market driven economy)

- history of Dutch-Flemisch typographic design

- history of printing and the book

- image - text relations (16th century allegorical prints, 19th century books)

- historical artistic avant-gardes

- typography and industrial mass culture

- Do It Yourself and new digital print cultures (dtp, Punk, fan 
cultures, amateur correspondents)

- kinetic typography

- typography in fashion, architecture, arts..

- typography in corporate design (apart from traditonal contexts of 
PTT, SHV, KLM, NS house styles, also in contemporary - online - 
applications for industries, firms, and organisations )

- typography and advertising, posters

- typography for television, computer, film

- typography for electronic media (teletext, billboards, signs) and 
information design

- digital typography

- Surprise us !

Proposals (approximately 300 words) for peer-reviewed articles (6000 
- 8000 words) and non peer-reviewed essays (3000 - 5000 words) may be 
submitted to the editor via Jack Post 
(j.post at maastrichtuniversity.nl<mailto:j.post at maastrichtuniversity.nl>) 
no later than January 10th, 2016. A final version of the article is 
expected by May 1th, 2016. The issue will be published end 2016.

Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis (Journal for Media History) is a 
Dutch peer- reviewed scientific journal that biannually appears 
online in open access. The journal accepts contributions in Dutch and 
English. For author guidelines, see the website: 

More information

- About the TMG - Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis / Journal of 
Media History, please visit http://www.tmgonline.nl

- Concerning this Call for Papers please contact Dr. Jack Post via 
j.post at maastrichtuniversity.nl

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