The First Space Gallery in the Queen Elizabeth II Library is showcasing some of the earliest examples of brand development and trademarks in printing history.
Printers marks from the 16th and 17th centuries are on display intricately beautiful designs that printers branded their works with to protect against piracy. The first printers marks on record are from 1462, shortly after the invention of printing with movable type.
Though function was the main purpose of these early brands, printers soon realized the ornamental value of the mark and began to employ artists to create them.
The marks are brash and suggestive in a way that both typography and layout in books of that period are not, said Patrick Warner, special collections librarian at the Queen Elizabeth ll Library and curator of the exhibit. Each mark shows a unique aesthetic it could be that of the printer or artist or both and yet when one looks at all of the marks in this exhibit together they also seem to share something. Experiencing that something may well be the first step in understanding some of the accepted ideas about art and design at the time.
The selected printers marks are from the 16th and 17th century holdings of the Queen Elizabeth II Library's Archives and Special Collections. The exhibit runs until December 2013.