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, in music, in various forms ofliterature and applied arts emerging a few decades before 1914. Thus,modernism is the purposeful philosophical and practical alienation ofthe past arts and literature that transpired in the 20thcentury, transforming via different innovations and styles. In do so,traditionally accepted forms of music, art, and literature arerejected, and individuals are free to experiment their own sense ofstyle, hence, style is driven by self-consciousness. Nevertheless,the book is a set of written, printed, or blank pages put togetherand fastened on one side and can be put between protective covers.Thus, designing a book stands for the art of gathering content forexample, style format to use, and deciding on the sequence of thevarious components to be included in the book. Therefore, the purposeof this is to define how modern book design has changed over time andsociety.

Evolutionof the Modern Book

Theevolution of the modern book design has come a long way, startingfrom the vibrant laminations of gold leaf, which reflected light fromthe pages of hand written books giving a sensation of a trulyilluminated page (Meggsand Purvis, 2011).The laminated pages went ahead to be used in the production ofmanuscripts which today we witness in works of history of decoratedand illustrated handwritten books written in the late Roman Empire.In was not until 1450 that topography was introduced leading toprinted books replacing manuscripts

Withan emergency of a literate middle class and students in growinginstitutes of learning created a wider market and demand for readingmaterials. Writing had given humanity an important means of storing,retrieving, and documenting knowledge and information transcendingtime and place, thus, topography printing allowed the economical andmultiple production of the alphabet communication. However, a simplebook called for intensive labor and the materials used were even moreexpensive. Despite all these, the paper making technology finallyreached Europe allowing to venture into printing by 1400. By 1500printing in over 140 towns in Europe with typography printing helpingcut 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. Thus, they come up with the earlyprototype of the roman alphabets design and the coarse decorativeboarders of the early French books. Later in the 1600s, all previousalphabets were examined by an academician studying their type ofdesign leading to the construction of new roman capital letters.

Theindustrial revolution brought with it social and economic changes inthe role of typographic communication expanding into the advertisingand posters due to urbanization (Meggsand Purvis, 2013).There grew demand for abstract visual forms, put an increasedpressure on printers to evolve, thus, the letter press printers hadto expand their design possibilities leading to the new type designsin the nineteenth century without precedent.

Underthe arts and crafts movements inspired by free will design their leadto the commissioning of new designs of woodblock ornaments, initials,and illustrations. At the sometime, designers had control over theformat’s design, type selections, illustrations, and other visualconsiderations of their books. The production of books was done underwriter’s supervision, in the long run creating a cordialrelationship between the designer and the publisher (Meggsand Purvis, 2011).

Accordingto SF-Book Review (2014), the earliest surviving papyrus scrollhaving written words dates back to 2400BC and it bears it origin inEgypt. The papyrus material is a very thick paper like substance madefrom the pith, which is the center of the stem. However, match later105 AD the paper evolution develop introduced by the Chinese forwriting (Harry Ransom Center, 2013). When paper was introduced it wasof stand size and it was simply referred to as a leaf. At around400-600 AD the first handwritten manuscripts appeared and the bookswere decorated in silver or gold and they had detailed designs. Theearliest forms of illustrated manuscripts were initially from Italyand the Roman Empire.

Bythe nineteenth century with the heightened production of books, coverdesigns evolved with designers using various elements of design andtypography in enticing the leader to purchase the book. TheGuttenberg Bible also referred to as the 42-line Bible was the firstmajor book to be printed using the new Gutenberg’s moveable typeprinting press making the start of printed books, the bible has beenpraised for being artistic and visual (SF-Book Review, 2014). By 1832the birth of the first novel was realized, inspired by the spread ofthe written word alongside a growth in education, later developmentsin the oncoming centuries would see books published a CD in 1985 tolater developments with the arrival of the internet books could beassessed on line or even sold on the same platform in the modern day(Novin,2013).


HarryRansom Center. (2013). PrintingYesterday and Today.Retrieved From:

Meggs,P. B., &amp Purvis, A. W. (2011). Meggs`history of graphic design.New York: Wiley.

Novin,G. (2013). AHistory of Graphic Design.Retrieved From:


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