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Typography and national identity

Waldeck, Mila;


This text focuses on the concept of tradition founded on nationalist bases and asks how it is related to graphic design. This question is considered in the field of typography, where ties between the printing industry, language and national identity are illustrated. Three principles from theories of nationalism are followed and compared with some episodes of typography history. The concepts are, first and foremost, Anderson’s thesis that the printed language helped found nationalism. Second, Hobsbawm’s idea that nationalism is able to invent traditions. Third, Gellner‘s point that nationalism tries to align cultural and political frontiers. It is thus suggested that nationalism is related to graphic design as an unintended effect of the printing industry. However, since typography precedes nations, it does not necessarily convey national identities. Nationalist commitments may attribute false historical origins to typefaces and restrict design to national borders that do not correspond to the cultural ones.


Palavras-chave: design, memory, nationalism, typography,


DOI: 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0020

Referências bibliográficas
  • [1] Anderson, B. (1991) Imagined Communities. London; New York: Verso
  • [2] Burke, C. (1998) Paul Renner the art of typography. London: Hyphen Press
  • [3] Gellner, E (1997) Nationalism. New York: New York University Press
  • [4] Hobsbawm, E (2003) The invention of tradition. Cambridge: University Press
  • [5] Institute of Comparative Linguistics of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität (2003). Languages of South America. Accessed 02-04-2014
  • [6] Library of Congress (n.d.) Declaration of independence Accessed 10-12-2013
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  • [8] Smith, A. (1991) National identity. London: Penguin Books
  • [9] Souza, P. L. P. (2008) Notas para uma história do design. Rio de Janeiro: 2AB
  • [10] Vatican Library (n.d.) Historical notes.;ling=eng Accessed 10-12-2013
Como citar:

Waldeck, Mila; "Typography and national identity", p. 183-188 . In: Tradition, Transition, Tragectories: major or minor influences? [=ICDHS 2014 - 9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0020

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