Typography archive: online

To browse through mediaeval manuscripts and take a look at the walls of Georgian churches — all without leaving your home

November 10, 2023

We sell digital fonts and report on how technology can help deal with these fonts as well as use our @tomorrow.type.today Instagram As some members of our team are living in Russia we have to follow the Russian law. According to the law, every time we post links to Instagram or Facebook we have to mention the fact that these socials belong to Meta, which was recognized as extremist by the Ministry of Justice if the Russian Federation to share projects by young designers you might want to subscribe to. That said, we consider it important not to limit ourselves to just following the contemporary processes and address the history of type and typography as well — look into metal type, old type specimens and first websites, exploring and explaining their heritage when it comes to modern typefaces. Today we’re going to present a number of online archives that might help do that.


In 2005, Professor for Manuscript Studies and Medieval Latin Christoph Flüeler initiated the creation of an online archive to contain the scans of all mediaeval manuscripts stored in Swiss museums and libraries.

In 2006, he launched a website and began reaching out to the institutions from other European countries. The archive currently holds nearly 3,000 materials, with the earliest of them dating back to the 4th century.

Königsfelden Abbey land tax register, 1432–1530

51 Cartulary II of Königsfelden Abbey, 1417–1530

52 Pontificale Murense, 1508

53 Eidgenössische Chronik, Werner Schodoler, 1514–1532

National Archives of Georgia

The National Archives of Georgia covers anything having to do with the history of Georgia and Georgian script: photographed texts on the walls of churches, handwritten manuscripts, books, and film strips.

Researchers studying the history of Georgian script can apply for registration in a library and take one of the documents to explore it once their application is approved.

Prayer book, 1836

3 Caucasus Map, 1920

4 Uriel Acosta performance booklet, 1901

5 Alaverdoba film poster, Gogi Ochiauri, 1962

Canadian Typography Archives

This archive seeks to document the history of pre-digital typography in Canada (before and after it became independent). Now the earliest item of their digital collection dates back to 1751, while the most recent is 1985.

The collection is categorised into nine sections: Advertising and Promotion, Designers, Typographers and Letter Artists, Early Printing and Type, Graphic Design and Branding, Publications, Private and Small Presses, Signage and Wayfinding, Trade and Craft, Typeface Design.

The team is currently engaged in studying the writing system of indigenous people of Canada and invites others to join their research.

6 Cartier Roman typeface, Carl Dair, 1967

7 Design for Printing, E. B. Eddy Paper Company, Carl Dair, 1947

8 Type Talks, Carl Dair, 1948

Corner of the city Mono Lino typesetting advertising, Herb Graab, 1963

13 Cockney Slang poster, Jim Donoahue and Al Elliott, 1970

Design Archives

The collection compiled by designer Valery Marier not only features static images (such as specimens, books, branding), but also presents an entire section dedicated to interactive design related items of the 20th century, which, for instance, offers you to log into Windows 95 with any modern computer.

Valery Marier’s archive also has a vast selection of type design literature, ranging from a 17th century typography handbook to publications by Ellen Lupton.

Emigre magazine, 1990

Typefaces catalogue, Schelter & Giesecke, 1927

Manuel typographique, Pierre Simon Fournier, 1764

Apple Logo Standards, 1987

Type, Typewriter, and Typography Catalogs

A collection on archive.org, brought together by archivist Jason Scott, holds 200 documents of the 19-20th centuries that are one way or another related to type and typography. For example, the selection includes a catalogue of American Type Founders foundry, price lists for Monotype machine details, and even scanned patents for various kinds of hot metal typesetting machinery.

ATF Foundry catalogue, 1955

Baltimore type catalogue, 1946

Line-O-Scribe catalogue, 1938

Monotype: A Journal of Composing Room Efficiency, 1924

Brutalist websites

Unlike all the other archives in this selection, this one doesn’t have any scanned materials. Brutalist Websites store the examples of Brutalist typography on the Web. Those are mostly online zines and design studios’ portfolios, but also some real life projects, such as a website of a literary award and a mobile carrier webpage. Some of these sites are no longer available or their design is now different, which is why this archive is the only place where you could see them.

AWGE studio website

PART architectural bureau website

The Black Shoes music band website

Pieter Paul Pothoven personal website

P.S. If you plan to use the materials from the above-listed archives in your project or post what you found on social media, make sure it is permitted by any given archive or person who handed the scanned item in question.