How the Modern Book Evolved


Howthe Modern Book Evolved


Howthe Modern Book Evolved

Modernismis a term used in the description of reforms in cultural movements inthe fields of art and architecture, music, various forms ofliterature, and applied arts that emerged a few decades before 1914.Thus, modernism is the purposeful philosophical and practicalalienation of the past arts and literature that transpired in the20thcentury, transforming via different innovations and styles. In doingso, traditionally accepted forms of music, art, and literature, andindividuals were free to experiment their own sense of style hence,style was driven by self-consciousness. On the other hand, a book isa set of written, printed, or blank pages put together and fastenedon one side and at most cases putted between protective covers. Designing a book is the art of gathering content for example, styleformat to use, and deciding on the sequence of the various componentsto be included in the book. Therefore, the purpose of this paper isto define how modern book design has changed over time and withsociety.

Evolutionof the Modern Book

Theevolution of the modern book design has come a long way, startingfrom the vibrant laminations of gold leaf, which replicated lightfrom the pages of hand written books. This form of writing gave asensation of a truly illuminated page (Meggsand Purvis, 2011).The laminated pages were used in the production of manuscripts.Today, we can witness the works of history of decorated andillustrated handwritten books written in the late Roman Empire. Inwas not until 1450 that topography was introduced leading to printedbooks replacing manuscripts.

Withan emergence of a literate middle class and students in growingnumbers of institutes of learning, a wider market was created and thedemand for reading materials grew. Writing had given humanity animportant means of storing, retrieving, and documenting knowledge andinformation transcending time and place thus, topography printingallowed the economical and multiple production of the textualcommunication. However, a simple book called for intensive labor andthe materials used were even more expensive. Despite all these, thepaper making technology finally reached Europe allowing cheapersubstrate by 1400. By 1500 printing in over 140 towns in Europe withtopography printing helping cut to down the cost books (Meggsand Purvis, 2011).

Ingraphic design, the renaissance of classical literature and the worksof Italian humanists brought about an innovative approach to bookdesign, whereby the Italian scholars come up with the type design,the layout of the page, ornaments to be included, illustrations andthe total design of the book. In addition, they come up with theearly prototype of the roman alphabets design and the coarsedecorative boarders of the early French books. Later in the 1600s,all previous alphabets were examined by an academician studying theirtype of design leading to the construction of new roman capitalletters.

Infourteenth and fifteenth, there was renaissance of writing thatstarted in Italy, Greece, and Rome. The word renaissance meansrebirth and it marks the transition from medieval to the modernworld. An Italian scholar rethought about page layout, type ofdesign, and illustration of the book. In 1501, the scholar addressedthe need for small and economical books. It is at this point that theneed to change the handwriting font. In addition, the Italian scholarfound that it was difficult to find certain information from a bookthat consisted many pages. Therefore, he decided to organize the bookwith page number. As a result, it book become typographic and it waseasy to access it.

Theindustrial revolution led to social and economic changes in the roleof typographic communication expanding it into the advertising andposters due to urbanization (Meggsand Purvis, 2013). As a result, there was high demand for abstract visual formspressuring the evolution of printers. Correspondingly, press printersexpanded its design possibilities and introduced new types of designsin nineteenth century without precedent.

Afterthe arts and crafts movements that were inspired by free will design,there was commissioning of new designs of woodblock ornaments,initials, and illustrations. At the sometime, designers had controlover the format’s design, selection type, illustrations, and othervisual considerations of their books. The production of books wasdone under writer’s supervision, and in the end created a cordialrelationship between the designer and the publisher (Meggsand Purvis, 2011).

Accordingto SF-Book Review (2014), the earliest surviving papyrus scroll hadwritten words dates back in 2400BC, and it bore it originality fromEgypt. The papyrus material is a very thick paper like made from thepith, which is the center of the stem. However, match later 105 AD aChinese citizen introduced a paper that would serve the purpose ofwriting. (Harry Ransom Center, 2013). The introduced paper wascommonly in the stand size and it was simply referred to as a leaf.At around 400-600 AD, the first handwritten manuscripts appeared, andthey would be decorated with silver or gold and they had detaileddesigns. The earliest forms of illustrated manuscripts were initiallyfrom Italy and the Roman Empire.

Bythe nineteenth century, there was high production of books and coverdesigns, and every designer used different elements of design andtypography that enticed the reader to purchase the book. TheGuttenberg Bible, also referred as the 42-line Bible was the firstmajor book to be printed using the new Gutenberg’s moveable typeprinting press. It marked the start of printed books and peoplepraised its artistic and visual (SF-Book Review, 2014). In 1832, thefirst novel was born, and its birth spread written word alongsidegrowth in education. In 1985, the first book was published in a CDdue to advanced technology. Afterwards, the books would be uploadedin the internet and the reader has to retrieve it to read (Novin,2013).


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SF-BookReview. (2014). Theevolution of the book.Retrieved From: