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Introduction: Five Classic Typefaces

Students taking the course covered in this section are introduced to five classic typefaces, each representing a distinct stage in the evolution of type design. Although many were designed centuries ago, these typefaces remain among the most popular and widely used today. Below are listed the names of the five typefaces along with their historical classification and approximate date of design.

Garamond: French Old Style 1617
Baskerville: English Transitional 1757
Bodoni: Italian Modern 1780
Century: American Egyptian 1894
Helvetica: Swiss Contemporary 1957

There is no better way to train the eye to typographic subtleties than by studying the changing forms in typeface design over the centuries and understanding how seemingly minor changes in type design can affect both the character of the typeface and its appearance on the page.