Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts


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A delightfully inquisitive tour that explores the rich history and the subtle powers of fonts.

Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product that we buy. But where do fonts come from and why do we need so many? Who is behind the businesslike subtlety of Times New Roman, the cool detachment of Arial, or the maddening lightness of Comic Sans (and the movement to ban it)? Simon Garfield embarks on a mission to answer these questions and more, and reveal what may be the very best and worst fonts in the world.

Typefaces are now 560 years old, but we barely knew their names until about twenty years ago, when the pull-down font menus on our first computers made us all the gods of type. Beginning in the early days of Gutenberg and ending with the most adventurous digital fonts, Garfield unravels our age old obsession with the way our words look. Just My Type investigates a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seemingly ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and what makes a font look presidential, male or female, American, British, German, or Jewish. From the typeface of Beatlemania to the graphic vision of the Obama campaign, fonts can signal a musical revolution or the rise of an American president. This book is a must-read for the design conscious that will forever change the way you look at the printed word.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592407460
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 325,269
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Simon Garfield is the author of twelve acclaimed books of nonfiction. He lives in London and St. Ives, Cornwall, and currently has a soft spot for Requiem Fine Roman and HT Galeria.

Table of Contents

Foreword Chip Kidd xii

Introduction: Love Letters 1

Periodic Table of Typefaces 6-7

1 We don't serve your type 9

2 Capital Offence 22

Gill Sans 41

3 Legibility vs Readability 45

Albertus 62

4 Can a font make me popular? 65

Futura v Verdana 73

5 The Hands of Unlettered Men 77

Doves 84

6 The Ampersand's Final Twist 89

7 Baskerville is Dead (Long Live Baskerville) 97

Mrs Eaves & Mr Eaves 106

8 Tunnel Visions 109

9 What is it about the Swiss? 124

Frutiger 139

10 Road Akzidenz 143

11 DIY 158

12 What the Font? 172

13 Can a font be German, or Jewish? 180

Futura 193

14 American Scottish 196

Moderns, Egyptians and Fat Faces 204

15 Gotham is Go 208

16 Pirates and Clones 220

Optima 233

17 The Clamour from the Past 235

Sabon 251

18 Breaking the Rules 254

The Interrobang 268

19 The Serif of Liverpool 270

Vendôme 284

20 Fox, Gloves 286

21 The Worst Fonts in the World 296

22 Just My Type 313

Bibliography 333

Online 337

Acknowledgements 339

Font and image credits 343

Index 345

What People are Saying About This

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.”

Customer Reviews