John Baskerville's Contribution To The World Of Graphic Design

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With the invention of the moveable type the creation of “cheaper” books changed the course of history. Many artisans went into the print making business and for better or worse we still have those means fonts and works to look back upon and gaze in awe in how they created such marvelous pieces. But none are looked upon with as much wonder and amazement then those of John Baskerville. Everything that Baskerville made screamed high quality from the type, to the design of the book, to even the paper that he had. If you had a Baskerville book you had a masterpiece. But, even with masterpiece comes a bit of perfectionism and he was quite the perfectionist. But how was this man such an influence in the world of type? And why did he inspire such people …show more content…
In 1751 at the young age of 44, Baskerville returned to what set him on his path in the first place, typography. Baskerville decided to experiment with printmaking, he decided that he was the one that would actually control every facet of book making. Baskerville was assisted in his work by the punch cutter John Handy and assistant Robert Martin, who later in life became Baskerville’s foreman (Meggs, p. 128). Baskerville’s types are considered the height of perfection as he was one of the designers that helped transition from the style of type we now call Old Style and our more modern style of type. One of the most obvious differences is the weight contrast of the thin and thick strokes and the wideness of the type, which in Old Style is actually quite thick and blocky. His serifs are also quite different as they are more elegantly treated then they were before. He also used much wider margins then were allowed at the time. His type is simply considered beautiful and light as there is a balance to their design. One of the most interesting things about Baskerville was his drive for perfection, if one piece was a little bit off or strange he had the whole type recast. He also melted down and recast his type after every run (Meggs, p. 128). Talk about a …show more content…
He printed Vergil’s Paradise Lost on 1757. The Vergil book is one of the many firsts in printing, the most important is that it is the first fine printed book ever printed in England. The list of subscribers for this book is a who’s who of the era: Copenhagen, Dr. Samuel Jonson, and Benjamin Franklin to name a few (Benton, p. 27 – 28). What should have been a victory was actually not in Baskerville’s eyes. Vergil’s Paradise Lost was printed on laid paper. Because of the way it is made laid paper has a very rough and coarse surface. Needless to say Baskerville was not really happy with the quality of paper, so he decided to create his own paper. (Meggs, p. 128 – 129). As a little extra, on the running title on page 33 of the original Vergil book there is a space between the I and the R in the name Vergil (Benton, p. 29). It’s just something funny to

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