The years after WWII were a time of great economic, social, and cultural change as consumerism erupted across industrialized countries, fueled by the growth of mass communication. The same period was also one of exceptional creativity, including in the fields of typography and graphic design.
During the war, governments came to appreciate the skill of designers in communicating public information effectively. Once the conflict was over, designers were recognized for the first time as having an essential role to play in the rebuilding of economies, infrastructure, and public morale. The typographer, however, was still something of a 'Cinderella': type was crucial to communication in almost any medium, yet typography remained a vague and largely unacknowledged profession.
This perception changed dramatically between 1945 and 1965. The range of media expanded, and the influence of time-based media such as television and film was profound, providing information 'as it happens' and transforming the turning of a page into the equivalent of the film editor's cut. 'Speed' was the elixir of growth and prosperity. The specific needs of highway and airport signage were recognized as requiring the expertise of a typographer. Phototypesetting and offset lithographic printing coalesced to provide a full-color reproduction, which in turn vastly increased the sale of all printed material, but especially books and magazines. All of this drew typographers into what became established as specialist fields of printed and screen media. Finally, the cultural value of the typographer's work could be equated with that of the artist, poet, author, and film director.
Written by David Jury. Published by Merrell in 2023. Hardcover, measures 11 x 7.8 inches, 240 pages. ISBN 9781858947075