This study provides an examination of how unslick, untutored forms evolve into the experimental letter styles used today, and offers a look at the essence of typographic practice and play. The book consists of four parts, each devoted to a different facet of this subject: hand-drawn, vernacular, humorous, and digital letterforms. "Handmade Letters - The Art of Hand-Drawn Typography" explores how letterforms progress from the naive to the vernacular to the calligraphic. "Vernacular Alphabets - The Art of Commonplace Letterforms" covers types used on billboards and other signs, and examines street influences that inspire them. "Funny Faces - The Art of Novelty Typography" looks at 100 years of display alphabets and technical gimmickry. "Digital Daring - The Art of Inventive Typography" ranges in topic from fashioned verse to deconstructed digital fontography. Specific to genre, each of the book's four parts begins with an historical survey, addressing the letter as a component of language and how the given style fits into the overall typographic vocabulary.
Other topics include the anatomy of type, with a look at the form and function of representative examples; selected full alphabets and letterforms, with text on their origins and evolution (both analogue and digital); a survey of how these typographic forms are applied, with work produced by a wide range of designers; and an assessment of how these forms will continue to evolve.