A hugely entertaining and revealing guide to the history of type that asks, What does your favorite font say about you?
Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product we buy. But where do fonts come from, and why do we need so many? Who is responsible for the staid practicality of Times New Roman, the cool anonymity of Arial, or the irritating levity of Comic Sans (and the movement to ban it)?
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, Simon Garfield explores the rich history and subtle powers of type. He goes on to investigate a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seeming ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and exactly why the all-type cover of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" was so effective. It also examines why the "T" in the Beatles logo is longer than the other letters and how Gotham helped Barack Obama into the White House. A must-have book for the design conscious, "Just My Type"'s cheeky irreverence will also charm everyone who loved "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" and "Schott's Original Miscellany.
About the Author
SIMON GARFIELD is a feature writer at the Observer (London) and the author of nine works of nonfiction, including Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and The End of Innocence, which won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1995.
"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."
--New York Times, Janet Maslin
"Garfield takes readers on a rollicking tour of the world of typography."
"Garfield's engaging history of letter design will be eye candy...[Just My Type is] stuffed with fascinating bits of information...lively, richly illustrated "
--NPR.org/Books We Like
"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."
--Los Angeles Times
"Just My Type, is informative, delightful - and essential reading for word geeks everywhere."
--The Seattle Times
"Charming and informative"
--The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"You'll find a lot to like in this book....[it] informs as it entertains."
--St. Louis Post Dispatch
--Tampa Bay Tribune
"Deliriously clever and entertaining."
--The Boston Globe
"Packed with lively anecdotes"
--The Boston Globe, Word Column
--The Philadelphia Intelligencer
"Garfield's romping history (with multitype text) is zestfully informative."
"Deft and downright fun."
"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."
"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!"
--Starred Library Journal
"[A] lively romp through the history of fonts. Garfield's evocative prose entices us to see letters instead of just reading them."
"A thoroughly entertaining, well-informed tour of typefaces...[Just My Type] offers an informed and pleasing answer, and 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."
"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."
"There is even a photograph of a quick brown fox literally jumping over a lazy dog. What a clever, clever book."
"Did I love this book? My daughter's middle name is Bodoni. Enough said."
"With wit, grace and intelligence, Simon Garfield tells the fascinating stories behind the letters that we encounter every day on our street corners, our bookstore shelves, and our computer screens." -Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram Design, New York, and author of Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design
"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."
--Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, author of Encyclopedia of the Exquisite