The Sans Serif in the Printed Ephemera of Birmingham and the Midlands

Category: Ph.D. Research


This research, carried out by David Osbaldestin, 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 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 sans serif have on nineteenth-century print culture and design;
  2. To what effect did the development of the British sans serif have on advertising or did advertising stimulate the demand for the development of sans serif printing types;

  3. How were British sans serif typefaces commercially deployed by trade printers in the nineteenth and early twentieth century;

  4. What influence do nineteenth century British sans serif printing types have on revival sans serif faces of the twentieth century;

  5. How can the usage of sans serif types be used as an index to measuring cultural values?


Members involved in this research

David Osbaldestin


Ph.D. Research Projects