- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (22 Sept. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846683025
- ISBN-13: 978-1846683022
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 190 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts Paperback – 22 Sep 2011
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Brilliant ... whether you're a graphics geek or have never given a second thought to what you're reading, don't miss this quirky, fact-filled font fest. (Lauren Laverne Grazia 2010-10-25)
Reading this book may just change your life; it'll certainly make you smile. If nothing else, it'll make you appreciate the beauty - and sometimes the horror - that is all around you. (Time Out)
A celebration of our way with words (Observer 2010-10-17)
Light-hearted but comprehensive, from rather odious typefaces, such as the hairy Grassy, to the ubiquitous Helvetica, each font is given a rundown. Garfield says he's unable to walk past a sign until he has identified the typeface. Now, neither can we. (Monocle 2010-10-01)
Garfield convinces us it's okay to actually like typography. What shines about this book is its accessibility; you don't have to be a typeface historian or a designer to find it enthralling ... It's fascinating to read about the history, origins and revolutions of typefaces, and this book strikes a great balance between fact and humour. Garfield's book isn't snobbish or elitist, and this is its most refreshing quality - it's for everyone to enjoy and share ... reading this book may just change your life; it'll certainly make you smile. If nothing else, it'll make you appreciate the beauty - and sometimes the horror - that is all around you. (Nick Booth Time Out 2010-11-11)
Hugely entertaining ... a lively history ... my considerable enjoyment of this book may have been enhanced by the fact that I've always been very interested in print design. But even those who have never considered the beauty of the Baskerville Q ... should find themselves being drawn in by Garfield's enthusiasm and wit (Anna Carey Sunday Business Post 2010-10-17)
A quirky introduction to fonts ... Simon Garfield is careful to tickle as much as he teaches ... Just My Type is fun. If you have ever looked at the drop-down menu in Word and wondered what a Garamond is, or what's meant to be new about Times New Roman, Garfield will be just your type. (Peter Robins Daily Telegraph 2010-10-16)
Dozens of compelling anecdotes are clearly told by Simon Garfield in this eye-opening book, which is utterly convincing in its central idea - that we are surrounded by fonts and influenced by their subtle message ... a delightful, brain-expanding book. (Harry Mount Mail on Sunday 2010-10-24)
Garfield's great strength is his storytelling. His book comprises dozens of lovely vignettes, anecdotes that make a potentially dusty subject utterly compelling ... he shows as judicious a sense of imagery as he has of more technical description ... a fine primer (Archie Bland Independent on Sunday 2010-10-31)
A lively history of fonts, from the first moveable letters used by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1440s to the latest cutting edge typefaces ... lavishly and imaginatively illustrated ... a joy to look at as well as to read ... encapsulates the romance and magical possibilities of type. (Anna Carey Sunday Business Post 2010-10-17)
Non-fiction Christmas bestseller. Radio 4 Book of the WeekSee all Product description
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I was fascinated to discover that the producers of historical films do meticulous research on every aspect of the period they are representing only to slip up on a detail like an anachronistic font.
I particularly enjoyed the chapter called DIY, starting with the inky title. The John Bull printing outfit, DYMO tape, Letraset, the IBM Selectric – I remember them all. All of them great fun to use, apart from fiddling with the balls on the IBM typewriter every time you wanted to change from roman to italics to bold and back again. I’d forgotten all about the John Bull printing set – I loved the bit about the tiny letters getting lost in the carpet.
At the beginning of the 80s, I edited a little feminist magazine in Esperanto, of course using Letraset headings. (I loved selecting the appropriate font for each article.) My problem wasn’t the E, but O, which is the noun ending in Esperanto and always ran out long before the other letters.
Anyway, many thanks to Simon Garfield for these happy reminiscences, and also for the rest of this very informative and readable book.
I have a slightly complicated history with this book. I bought it when it first came out, having seen a number of rave reviews, including a virtually evangelical endorsement from Robert Bound. However, first time round, I didn’t get on with it. I found it dull indeed, and gave up with it after a short while.
Early in 2014, I decided to tackle it again: I could not accept that so many people whose opinion I respect had so highly recommended a book which I found impenetrable. Second time round, I very much enjoyed it, and devoured it in a couple of days. I enjoyed its humour and levity; its facts and figures; its tales of times gone by and anecdotes of contemporary life in the design community. It was a real treat, a pleasure to read. I cannot understand why I found it such a struggle the first time round. Garfield deftly brings the human spirit to a topic which, at face value, lacks any humanity. He brings type alive in the most engaging way.
Each chapter of the book discusses a font trend or another similar topic, including the history of how it came to exist, and how it progressed over time. The second chapter, which discusses the terminology of type, has a lovely quote which sums up the combination of accuracy and levity which the author employs throughout:
In common parlance we use font and typeface interchangeably, and there are worse sins.
Between the chapters, there are ‘font breaks’, in which Garfield typically discusses an interesting story relating to a single typeface. This structure might seem unusual at first glance, but it works well, setting up a predictable rhythm throughout the book. And, as one might expect, the book is peppered with different typefaces, providing illustration of the points discussed.
I found Just My Type to be a lovely book – at least on second reading – and it made me genuinely interested in a topic I’d never considered in great detail previously. It was factual, but with a real sense of fun. I’d thoroughly recommend it.
For me, the content didn't quite live up to the presentation. The chapters cover the material in a random order (not chronological or any other sensible scheme), and many chapters are just a grab-bag of very loosely connected sections and anecdotes. The whole book is like a giant listicle with a hundred bullet points; the lack of structure makes it feel curiously unsatisfying.
Some of the stories are individually interesting. However, this material is counterbalanced by numerous rather dull sections in which Font X was created by Person Y for Purpose Z, and inevitably these become repetitive.
Throughout, the book pitches itself at the level of a breezy magazine article, with the consequent lack of depth and rigour. A few factoids about typography are sprinkled into the narrative, but there's no real introduction to the key technical facets. The book is fun to read, yet doesn't make you feel as if you've learned very much.
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None of the "nerdiness" which this topic sometimes attracts, and good use of examples in daily use.Read more