Textbook Overview


The Type Heritage Project [THP] is a multi-volume series of textbooks illustrating specimens and documenting the origins of some 1,500+ digital revivals of 19th- and early-20th -century display fonts documented by dated trade catalogs, professional journals, design patent applications or cited in the literature:

  • Pre-digital [metal or wood letterpress, photo-lettering, transfer-type] tradename(s).
  • Year of introduction, name and nationality of the original designer and/or design owner plus extensive footnotes and appendices.

Readers Addressed

  • Scholars. The THP series is intended primarily as a textbook/reference resource for graphic design educators and professionals, art historians, letterpress societies, etc.
  • Collectors. There is significant interest in digital revivals of the period investigated. The THP series identifies these fonts and their histories.
  • General Public. Gift-worthy “coffee-table picture books” for font fanciers.


Volumes of about 50 pages are organized primarily by chronological period; for example, Volume 1: Quintessential Victorian Faces. In cases of less “dated” fonts, by style: scripts, stylized romans, etc.

Chapter Spreads

Overviews of a specific historical period or style development: world-history context, style-category traits, etc. For example. the Artistic Printing Movement vs the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Specimen Spreads

  • Two-page specimen spreads are organized into chapters introduced by interpretative narrative.
  • Each specimen spread presents six to ten fonts, and each volume presents about 50 spreads including chapter introductions.
  • Specimen spreads are unified by themes illustrated with mortised advertising cuts or drawings authentic for the period and identified when possible.
  • Right-hand pages present gallery specimens exemplifying the theme. Left-hand pages present full alpha-numeric specimens with tabulated history basics.
  • Color-coded links (eBook) or footnotes (print) lead to appendices with additional information about the period, typeface, designer and producer.
  • Historical sidebar information is presented in available space.

Publication Formats

Planning is geared to PDF eBooks distributed by download or CDrom. Hard-copy print-on-demand options are under consideration.

  • The “green-minded” PDF format excels in native magnification, search-ability, bookmarking of chapter and related specimen spreads, hyper-linking to footnotes and appendices, convenience of future updates—and minimum cost for all concerned.
  • The nature of the content dictates that only the author (a professional graphic designer most experienced with print output) has the resources to produce these books with digital specimens of the fonts to be illustrated and documented as intended. PDF is the only acceptable way to accomplish this task.
  • Realistically… Once 50 PDF spreads are produced, a volume is finished. Why “waste” the interactive powers of PDF and related expense by printing it on paper?
  • Individual pages are output as standard letter-size sheets (8.5 in × 11.0 in). As suggested by the sample spreads, the reader may print all or selected spreads and punch them for ring-binder reference.

Progress Status

  • While literally never-ending, existing research is more than adequate to document some 1,500+ specimens on hand or known to be available as commercial fonts.
  • Over a dozen representative spreads presenting specimens on hand are complete, and gallery pages will soon be available for viewing.
  • The next step is assembling and organizing countless more digital specimens to be organized into spreads of “similar-looking” faces unified by themes.

Soon after the original THP website was launched (August 2011), readers volunteered to contribute new or existing digital revivals of typefaces introduced during the 19th- or early-20th -century. Since then, members of the THP Chapel forums site have digitally archived hundreds fonts of this period for illustration and documentation in the textbook series.

To thank them for their indispensable service to type history, their work will soon be available for purchase.