Generate a better visual rhythm alternating compatible typographic shapes to achieve a more pleasant reading
Many of the orthographic rules that are usually explained in publishing design come from concepts developed in the history of the evolution of the printed book.
The first printed book, the 42-line Bible, made by Gutenberg, tries faithfully to reproduce the type of handwritten book to, among other things, facilitate its sale. The typography used, the Gothic Textur, slightly condensed to get more characters per line and highly illegible. The purpose of this typeface is to write as many pages as possible in a reduced time. In full expansion of Christianity, the importance of the visual quality of the page is reduced, creating whole planes of Gothic texture.
In fact, the scribes used to fill entire pages of sticks to speed up the writing process and then make the small modifications according to the corresponding letter.
Gothic Textur – Wikipedia
Incunabula – Historical Archive of the City of Barcelona
Obviously the scribes usually do not have special interest in changing typography for titles and texts, in fact it is the only one they know how to do.
When the invention of the printing press arrived to Europe, especially in Rome, they adapted the type of printing to the writing of use in Italy, the Roman Type, discarding little by little the Gothic, considered outside of Germany an inelegant typography.
The printed pages begin to be completely in Roman typography but maintaining the same visual monotony.
There are more books to be printed apart from the religious one and with more immediate importance such as medical treatises. The evolution of the book page begins to put more emphasis on moving away from that monotony to facilitate the reading. And, we can say, moving away from German scribe's pages design.
The demand of a greater number of pages with the possibility of printing them causes changes in the pages composition such as the considerable reduction of margins, columns with greater width, left aligned columns instead justified. The text composition is manual, so the compositor simply accesses the furniture with the chosen typeface and places the different sizes in the corresponding areas.
Nicholas Jenson printed page - Codex99.com
As the printing press advances, the consumer of books not only chooses them for their content but also for the type of printing. Among the most important companies of the 17th and 18th centuries are the printing presses and foundries of printing types. Over time, the interest to generate a better visual rhythm in the pages, always favoring the read facility and consequently the sales, causes the incorporation of new elements, not only in printing that is the final result, but in typesetting, the process of developing the page. In this way, to see a page with a headline in a typographic family, the text in another and the captions in a different one, leads to interpreting a great quality of typesetting and printing of that book. The company has some highly professional typesetters and this means quality.
Typography printing form - starshaped.com
With the time it was defined which types are recommended for characters combination. But the purpose is always the same: generate a better visual rhythm alternating compatible typographic shapes to achieve a more pleasant reading.