The Typographic Hub

The sans serif in Britain

The sans serif printing in Britain is the subject of DAVID OSBALDESTIN's PhD research project, which aims to describe its development, deployment and influence.


This resaerch aims to produce a historical narrative that will enable a new understanding of the development, deployment and influence of the sans serif viewed not just through the eyes of the manufacturers’ but also from the perspective of the users and the audience; and in doing so produce an interpretation of the sans serif in Britain based both on its relative importance in use, as opposed to an evaluation simply on its design merit. The over-arching questions for this research study are:

1 - What impact did the emergence of the British sanserif have on nineteenth-century print culture and design;

2 - To what effect did the development of the British sanserif have on advertising or did advertising stimulate thedemand for the development of sanserif printing types;

3 - How were British sanserif typefaces commercially deployed by trade printers in the nineteenth and earlytwentieth century;

4 - What influence do nineteenth century British sanserif printing types have on revival sanserif faces of thetwentieth century;

5 - How can the usage of sanserif types be used as an index to measuring cultural values?

To contact David Osbaldestin: