Jessica Helfand | Essays

The Real Declaration

It is the rare piece of journalism that considers the role of typography in history. Rarer, still, is the idea that such a piece leaves the ghetto of same-old design publications, and pierces the frequently inpenetrable veil of the so-called "popular" press. Boston-based designer and educator Tom Starr's essay on the typographic provenance of the US Declaration of Independence does both: "Typography," writes Starr, "not calligraphy, created America's founding document. Published in the Sunday Boston Globe in late June, Starr superbly traces the typographic evolution of this symbolic manuscript over the last two centuries calling attention to political, technological and cultural shifts in the life of paper. (Click here for a discussion between Tom and Lynn Neary that aired July 3 on NPR.) Additional coverage included an editorial on July 2 in The Washington Post by David S. Broder.

Posted in: Graphic Design, History, Media, Theory + Criticism, Typography

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