A Fount of Fonts

Great article from Steven Heller, a former art director at The New York Times and a co-chair of the MFA Design Department at the School of Visual Arts.

The computer has put the word “font” into common parlance as a synonym for typeface. But ask most people, even many young graphic designers, where the word comes from, and blank stares abound. (For the record, it’s from the 16th-century French word fonte, which is derived from fonder, or “to melt,” and denotes the action or process of casting or founding.)

That is why for the past two years I have made a pilgrimage, with School of Visual Arts students, to Cornuda, Italy, a village about 40 miles north of Venice, near the Palladio-designed Villa Barbaro, to the Tipoteca, a museum devoted to the history of letterpress printing and typefaces, or fonts.

Read more