The term typography originates from two Greek words: typos, which means "mark, figure" and grapho, meaning "I write". In Europe, typography as the art of arranging metal type appeared in the 15th century. Interestingly, people in Korea had already known this art since the 13th century and in China typography appeared another 200 years earlier. However, some sources mention the ancient Phaistos Disk, dating back to the 2nd millenium BC, as the earliest example of typography, known to humans.
Current definitions of typography vary greatly. With the development of digital fonts and computer technologies, the understanding of the whole printing industry has changed. During the era of metal type, typography was explained as the art and technique of printing with movable type. Type is a physical object – a piece of metal with the raised face at one end, containing the reversed image of a character. Such metal types were inked and then pressed to the paper in order to print a text.
Now, typography mostly deals with digital or computer fonts, which are displayed or printed by electronic means, such as computer displays or printers. However, it is still about type arrangement, including such processes as selecting the necessary typeface, defining size, line length, and spaces between letters and words.
Legibility and readability are considered to be the primary qualitative characteristics of typography. Legibility refers to the field of typeface designing and requires each character of a font to be distinguishable from other characters. Readability is crucially important for typography. The key idea here is to present textual information as close to its meaning as possible. Besides, typography ensures easy navigation around the text and easy perception of it by choosing certain typefaces depending on the type of text and arranging it on the page with the appropriate interline-spacing and line length chosen.
Fonts2u is a modern web resource, which contains a variety of different fonts, representing the current stage of typography development.