This website from DutchCulture, centre for international cooperation, will be integrated in www.dutchculture.nl

Ottoman times


In 1493, the first printing house to print books in Hebrew was established in Istanbul, the capital city of the Ottoman Empire. This Jewish printing house was followed by an Armenian press in the 16th century, a Greek press in the 17th century; and in 1727 a printing house that printed Turkish books written in Arabic characters. Turkish designer and author Sait Maden states that Turkish graphic design has its origins in the establishment of this first printing press printing Turkish books. If this claim is accepted, then the very first graphic designer should automatically be İbrahim Müteferrika, an Ottoman intellectual with Hungarian origins and the founder of the Turkish printing press.

The 19th century witnessed the publication of the first newspapers and journals in Turkey. In this same period book publishing was also advancing. In the second half of the 19th century, the newspapers and journals began to include advertisements, creating a need for graphic designers. Not only in newspapers and journals, but also in the packaging of goods that were produced and exported by the multicultural Ottoman Empire displayed a plethora of diverse languages and alphabets like Turkish, Armenian, Greek, Hebrew and French. Moreover, it was possible to find books and journals that were published in multiple languages.