From printing types to digital typography the sans serif resonates across both page and screen; and from the advent of Caslon IV’s Two Lines English Egyptian in 1816* to the present day the voice of the sans serif has greatly influenced communication. In the nineteenth-century the sans serif sang out from billboards competing for attention through the smog of industrialised cities; with the advent of the railways it forged an unique relationship with transport and it became the face of the information age the indispensable choice for tabular matter. In the twenty-first century, with the emergence of new vernacular types, the sans serif continues to speak within contemporary advertising and user-experience design.
In September 2016, the Centre for Printing History and Culture is celebrating 200 years of the sans serif through a one-day symposium and accompanying exhibition. Speakers are invited to address aspects of the world-wide development, use and impact of the sans serif from the nineteenth century and beyond.
John A. Lane is a historian of printing types, typefounding and type specimens, also specialising in analytical bibliography, paper and watermarks. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his typographic research in 2006 and his many books and articles discuss the history of printing types from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century. His most recent book, The Diaspora of Armenian Printing 1512-2012 was published by the University of Amsterdam in 2012.
Professor James Mosley teaches the history of letterforms and typography at the University of Reading. He was librarian of the St Bride Library from 1958 until his retirement in 2000. He has written and lectured in several countries on the history of letter forms and printing types, and the technical and cultural influences that have shaped them.
Chiara Barbieri, Royal College of Art, London, UK, The resonance of sans serif within and beyond the Scuola del Libro in Milan, 1933-43
Robin Fuller, Trinity College, Dublin, Eire, Grotesque terminology
Jessica Glaser, University of Wloverhampton/Birmingham City University, UK, 'Block letters fo blockheads'
Jon Melton, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, Revolting Sans
Sebastien Morlighem, Ecole superieure d'art et de design, Amiens, France, Nineteenth century sans serif typefaces and letterforms in France
David Osbaldestin, Birmingham City University, UK, The sans serif in Britain: development, deployment and influence
Ann Pillar, University of Reading, UK, 'Decoration but not decoration': Edward Wright's sans serif letterforms for public buildings
Vaibhav Singh, University of Reading, UK, The ‘sans serif’ beyond Latin?: Univers and the New Nagari project