RENAISSANCE GRAPHIC DESIGN
The word renaissance means "revival" or "rebirth." Originally this term was used to denote the period that began in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Italy, when the classical literature of ancient Greece and Rome was revived and read anew. However, the word is now generally used to encompass the period marking the transition from the medieval to the modern world. In the history of graphic design, the renaissance of classical literature and the work of the Italian humanists are closely bound to an innovative approach to book design. Type design, page layout, ornaments, illustration-even the total design of the book-were all rethought by Italian printers and scholars. The prototype roman alphabet designs of Sweynheym and Pannartz and the coarse decorative borders of early French books were the first tentative steps toward unique Renaissance book designs. Although Sweynheym and Pannartz set up the first printing press in Italy at the Benedictine monastery in Subiaco near Rome, the flowering of a new approach to book design that was independent of the German illustrated book started in Venice and continued there during the last three decades of the fifteenth century.