Just My Type: A Book about Fonts

Just My Type: A Book about Fonts

3.8 10
by Simon Garfield, Gildart Jackson
     
 

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A hugely entertaining and revealing guide to the history of type that asks, "What does your favorite font say about you?"See more details below

Overview

A hugely entertaining and revealing guide to the history of type that asks, "What does your favorite font say about you?"

Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Lynne Truss's best-selling Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation: made it noticeable for people who had no idea they were interested in such things…Mr. Garfield has put together a lot of good stories and questions about font subtleties and font-lovers' fanaticism.
—The New York Times
Dennis Drabelle
Reading Simon Garfield's Just My Type can transform your daily life into an endless quest for knowledge of the typefaces in which signs, books, magazines, newspapers, etc. are set…Garfield seems to know everything about typefaces and what is written in them…
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Printed type is no mere neutral conveyor of ideas but an artistic medium in its own right, with psychological, social, and even sexual overtones, according to this lively romp through the history of fonts. Garfield (The End of Innocence) surveys fonts from Gutenberg's dour Gothic and the elegant classicism of Garamond to the childlike faux-naïveté of Comic Sans, now so widely used for everything from medical brochures to tombstones that a movement has arisen to ban it. Along the way he revisits the sometimes lurid lives of the great typographers—incest and bestiality included—and explores the legibility of highway signs and the subliminal messaging of presidential campaign fonts. There's much pop psychology here—heavy, angular fonts seem male, apparently, while thin, curlicued ones are female—and a lot of engaging connoisseurship that occasionally goes overboard, especially when comparing look-alike modern sans serif fonts: you have to strain at gnats to distinguish the ubiquitous corporate cordiality of Helvetica from the "slightly softer and more rounded tone" of Arial. Regardless, Garfield's evocative prose—Cooper Black is "the sort of font the oils in a lava lamp would form if smashed to the floor"—entices us to see letters instead of just reading them. Photos. (Sept.)
USA Today
“Highly entertaining … Garfield takes readers on a rollicking tour of the world of typography, from book jackets to road signs, TV shows to computers.”
NPR.org/Books We Like
"Garfield's engaging history of letter design will be eye candy...[Just My Type is] stuffed with fascinating bits of information...lively, richly illustrated "
Los Angeles Times
"Whether you're a graphic designer or a layperson with no background in this area, reading what Garfield has to say will change the way you perceive the written word forever. It might even lead you to make more discerning choices the next time you have a desktop publishing project in front of you. The take-away from Garfield's book is simple: Contrary to reports of its premature death, print is very much alive."
The Seattle Times
“Informative, delightful — and essential reading for word geeks everywhere.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Charming and informative"
St. Louis Post Dispatch
"You'll find a lot to like in this book....[it] informs as it entertains."
Tampa Bay Tribune
"Charming."
The Boston Globe
“A deliriously clever and entertaining book”
The Philadelphia Intelligencer
"Well-researched."
Booklist
“Garfield’s romping history (with multitype text) is zestfully informative.”
PureWow.com
"Deft and downright fun."
Shelf Awareness
"A lively, informative survey of 560 years of typefaces and font choices that will probably make you select a font that is much more you."
Chip Kidd
"Whether you're a hardcore typophile or a type-tyro, there's something here for you: be it the eye-opening revelations of Eric Gill's utter and complete perversity, or the creation of the typeface that helped Mr. Obama gain entrance to the White House."
Lynne Truss
"There is even a photograph of a quick brown fox literally jumping over a lazy dog. What a clever, clever book."
Maira Kalman
"Did I love this book? My daughter's middle name is Bodoni. Enough said."
From the Publisher
"A lively companion to books such as Robert Bringhurst's essential Elements of Typographic Style (1992) and John Lewis's classic Typography: Design and Practice." —Kirkus Starred Review
-New York Times
"This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Lynne Truss's best-selling Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation: made it noticeable for people who had no idea they were interested in such things."
-USA Today
"Garfield takes readers on a rollicking tour of the world of typography."
-NPR.org/Books We Like
"Garfield's engaging history of letter design will be eye candy...[Just My Type is] stuffed with fascinating bits of information...lively, richly illustrated "
-Los Angeles Times
"Whether you're a graphic designer or a layperson with no background in this area, reading what Garfield has to say will change the way you perceive the written word forever. It might even lead you to make more discerning choices the next time you have a desktop publishing project in front of you. The take-away from Garfield's book is simple: Contrary to reports of its premature death, print is very much alive."
-The Seattle Times
"Just My Type, is informative, delightful - and essential reading for word geeks everywhere."
-The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Charming and informative"
-St. Louis Post Dispatch
"You'll find a lot to like in this book....[it] informs as it entertains."
-Tampa Bay Tribune
"Charming."
-The Boston Globe
"Packed with lively anecdotes"
-The Philadelphia Intelligencer
"Well-researched."
-Booklist
"Garfield's romping history (with multitype text) is zestfully informative."
-PureWow.com
"Deft and downright fun."
-Shelf Awareness
"A lively, informative survey of 560 years of typefaces and font choices that will probably make you select a font that is much more you."
-Chip Kidd
"Whether you're a hardcore typophile or a type-tyro, there's something here for you: be it the eye-opening revelations of Eric Gill's utter and complete perversity, or the creation of the typeface that helped Mr. Obama gain entrance to the White House."
-Lynne Truss
"There is even a photograph of a quick brown fox literally jumping over a lazy dog. What a clever, clever book."
-Maira Kalman
"Did I love this book? My daughter's middle name is Bodoni. Enough said."
The Los Angeles Times
"Whether you're a graphic designer or a layperson with no background in this area, reading what Garfield has to say will change the way you perceive the written word forever.”
Seattle Post Intelligencer
“Lively […] intriguing […] a cheeky book about the human side and our reaction to fonts.”
Washington Post
“Reading Simon Garfield’s Just My Type can transform your daily life into an endless quest for knowledge of the typefaces in which signs, books, magazines, newspapers, etc. are set.”
The Atlantic
“Funny and fascinating, irreverent and playful yet endlessly illuminating, the book is an absolute treat for the type-nerd, design history geek, and general lover of intelligent writing with humor.”
New York Times
"This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Lynne Truss's best-selling Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation: made it noticeable for people who had no idea they were interested in such things."
TheAtlantic.com
Deft and downright fun.
Starred Library Journal

"Here is a wonderful update for those whose fondness for matters typographical predates the digital age, as well as those whose eyes need awakening to this particular enchantment. Garfield has a light touch and moves effortlessly among various aspects of typography past and present, not only from design perspectives but from accessible social, historical, and legal angles as well. Throughout, Garfield offers "fontbreaks" in which he focuses on the provenance of a particular typeface. An added pleasure: the book''s own text switches fonts to briefly reflect the typeface under discussion. "Highly recommended to all, whether or not you feel predisposed to like this kind of thing! Eye-opening and mind-expanding!"

The Huffington Post

"Irresistible."

Library Journal
The digital age took what was essentially an antiquarian hobby—the study and identification of typefaces and fonts—and turned it into a flourishing present-day avocation. What font do you select when typing at your keyboard? And which do you prefer for your e-reading? Baskerville? Verdana? How much do you know of the magical history behind your choices? Here is a wonderful update for those whose fondness for matters typographical predates the digital age, as well as those whose eyes need awakening to this particular enchantment. Although billed by its publisher as "fully revised for its U.S. release," it comes to us largely intact from the UK with a few domestic references added. Garfield (Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World) has a light touch and moves effortlessly among various aspects of typography past and present, not only from design perspectives but from accessible social, historical, and legal angles as well. There's a fascinating discussion of the ampersand, references to rock album covers with title fonts that stir the emotions, and a sobering clarification about copyright. Throughout, Garfield offers "fontbreaks" in which he focuses on the provenance of a particular typeface. An added pleasure: the book's own text switches fonts to briefly reflect the typeface under discussion. VERDICT Highly recommended to all, whether or not you feel predisposed to like this kind of thing! Eye-opening and mind-expanding!—Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews

A thoroughly entertaining, well-informed tour of typefaces, some now 560 years old, some invented within just the last few years.

If you own a computer, chances are good that you have hundreds of fonts available on your machine. Unless you're a typophile, then the chances are equally good that you don't make full use of all those possibilities—or know why Minion is different from Garamond is different from Times New Roman. Enter Garfield, a genial Briton who confesses to "a soft spot for Requiem Fine Roman and HT Gelateria." Some fonts, by the author's account, are dear and necessary—the late-Renaissance inventions of Claude Garamond, for instance, which, adapted by the English compositor William Caslon, "would provide the letters for the American Declaration of Independence," or Sabon, "one of the most readable of all book fonts." Others are an offense to the eye, such as Comic Sans, which started life innocently enough but has been used so overly and wrongly as to constitute a typographic felony. (Garfield defends the font's designer, though, who also designed Trebuchet, "which is a nicely rounded semi-formal humanist font ideal for web design." The author traces the evolution of font families over the several technologies of typemaking and typesetting that have emerged in the last half-millennium, including some of the digital ones that are used today. He is just old enough, too, to pay homage to typography in quite another context, namely the "boastful B" and "dropped T" spelling out "The Beatles" on Ringo Starr's drum kit. He also offers pointers on what fonts work best for what uses, even if some of his profiles should remain lost forever: The world would be a better place without Souvenir Light and Cooper Black.

"When we choose a typeface," asks Garfield, "what are we really saying?" His book offers an informed and pleasing answer, and a lively companion to books such as Robert Bringhurst's essentialElements of Typographic Style(1992) and John Lewis'sclassic Typography: Design and Practice.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452604510
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
09/30/2011
Edition description:
Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Maira Kalman
"Did I love this book? My daughter's middle name is Bodoni. Enough said."
-Jessica Kerwin Jenkins
"Simon Garfield reveals an invisible world behind the printed word... the lives of the designers and the letters they've created have never been more clearly detailed with so much flair."
From the Publisher
"A lively companion to books such as Robert Bringhurst's essential Elements of Typographic Style (1992) and John Lewis's classic Typography: Design and Practice." —-Kirkus Starred Review
Lynne Truss
"There is even a photograph of a quick brown fox literally jumping over a lazy dog. What a clever, clever book."
Janet Maslin
“This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Lynne Truss’s best-selling Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation: made it noticeable for people who had no idea they were interested in such things.”
Chip Kidd
"Whether you're a hardcore typophile or a type-tyro, there's something here for you: be it the eye-opening revelations of Eric Gill's utter and complete perversity, or the creation of the typeface that helped Mr. Obama gain entrance to the White House."
Jessica Kerwin Jenkins
"Simon Garfield reveals an invisible world behind the printed word... the lives of the designers and the letters they've created have never been more clearly detailed with so much flair."

Read More

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