Whenever discussions about British modernism pop up in the mass media the subject is invariably architecture. This is understandable - architecture is clearly more visible than other forms of design.

Nevertheless, it is nice to see someone taking a look at other aspects of modernism in Britain, in this case typography:

Paul Stiff and Petra Cerne Oven of the department of typography and graphic communication at the University of Reading have launched a web site called the Optimism of modernity.


‘The optimism of modernity’ aims to tell the story of an incomplete and now almost forgotten project: that of modernity in British typography. This is envisaged as a matter not of style but of ‘design as a visible form of social philosophy’ and as an optimistic claim on enlightenment.


Of course, such optimism and faith in universalism now seems impossible to recapture, but the research project will surely provide a fascinating insight into not only typography but changes in British attitudes to design and even society as a whole.