Monday, 17 October 2011

Decline and fall of the ligature

Whilst wondering whether to include ligatures into my font, I was pointed in the direction of this article on I Love Typography.

"With the invention of Metal Movable Type in the 15th century, ligatures flourished and were a great time saver when setting type. For example, instead of having to set an “f” and an “i”, a single ligature block could be used instead.

The modern-era of printing, the typewriter and Desk Top Publishing (DTP) were all nails in the ligature’s coffin. Richard Wendorf, in a 2005 lecture The Secret Life of Type, even suggests that the death of the ligature was brought about by a desire to reduce the number of type pieces, and was also influenced by the popular publisher John Bell (1745-1831), who abandoned ligatures."

Ligatures could be of any joining letters. They are beautiful, but I have come to the conclusion not to use them in my font, as Helvetica does not use them (and so this would be outside the brief) and also to make the font more personal would mean creating a seemingly endless list of ligatures.

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