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Dot-Font: Talking about Fonts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2007

    Literally, Reading History!

    John D. Berry may be categorized as an editor, book designer, and expert on typography (and his credentials certainly substantiate that slot!), but to this reader Berry is a contemporary philosopher. He just happens to use as his tools for investigating human thought and idea extension the wide variety of fonts and their uses in the media as a means to explore human response and even human behavior. The casual reader may not be attracted to a book about fonts (or, in older terms, typeface): the topic sounds dry and sterile and far too narrow to warrant buy his book to peruse with care. The book is most assuredly a 'Must' for graphic designers, artists who incorporate words or word fragments into their art, and for those who evaluate the final presentation of any book, whether a child's story, and adult novel, an art book, or newspapers and magazines. The surprise is the book's affinity for all readers fascinated with language and its development visually as a means of looking at the times! What Berry achieves in this fascinating collection of essays culled form his website is a history of the written word focused on the appearance of the constituents (read letter appearance) developed and used from as early as the 18th century to modern times. The old arguments, such as the long enduring one as to whether serif or sans serif (footed or non-footed) typeface/fonts produce faster and easier reading, are explored with both humor and scientific approach. But the essays all offer an entirely new ways of thinking about how the appearance of what we read plays on our retinas and hence our brain entries and the whys of that phenomenon. Mark Batty Publisher continues its quest to offer alternative books that have to date not found a friendly home for promotion and their library of now published works is an impressive one. As one would expect from a publisher with this goal, the design and layout of each of the books is of the highest quality, allowing for visual examples to clearly add to the written word without crowding the succinct manner in which the essays are meant to be read: the converse is than when their books are about visuals (as in the excellent New Orleans Bicycles) the written word embroiders the photographs instead of submerging them in bloated commentary. Their books are works of art in and of themselves and this book 'dot-font: Talking about Fonts' is an excellent example. Fascinating reading! Grady Harp

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