Did you ever wonder where some of those typography terms came from? Why do they call it uppercase and lowercase?
With the new WordPress editor being named Gutenberg, now’s a good time to take a step back in history to check out those terms we use regularly but may not know the history of.
I didn’t go to art school, but I did visit a bunch of living history villages and homes growing up. Occasionally they have a working print shop demo, with a printing press!
Why they call it uppercase and lowercase
Back in the day, each letter was it’s own block. The printer (or a person working in the shop), would literally go to cases of individual letters to put together the content that was going to be printed. Letter by letter by letter.
In the “upper case”, were the capital letters (A, B, C, D, etc). And in the “lower case” of letters, were the small letters (a, b, c , d, etc). All these years later, the organization of the blocks has stuck for what we call the letter!