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Makes you look closer at typefaces and consider them in a different light
on 24 May 2015
A nice little artefact as well as an engaging read. The cover font (in Gill Sans-the typeface inspired by Johnston's iconic London Underground font) and that of the body text (Gill's other typeface, Joanna), along with the well-justified paragraphs, make a neat, attractive container for Gill's discussion about the value of handmade arts and crafts, the machine-made goods that gradually edged them out, and the advantages and inconveniences of both approaches.
Inviting the reader to think about beauty, craftsmanship and factory manufacturing, the development of typefaces and styles, why children should be taught shorthand and phonography to improve handwriting and the limits that impose themselves on the creativity of the assembly-line worker and the lone artist or artisan, the Essay makes an interesting if dated argument for the moral virtues of craftsmanship and the DIY ethic that Gill espoused elsewhere.
An interesting little work; students and professionals in graphic design, as well as the simply curious will find this an engaging book.
It's a strange artifact, in that for a work on typography, there are multiple errors and inconsistencies, more ironic that annoying.
-I wonder if this was deliberate, but the chapter entitled 'The Procrustean Bed' which is about justified lines, has two pages of perfectly justified text and then the remainder of the pages displaying a ragged right-hand edge.
-multiple lone, out-of-place letters on a single line at the bottom of a page
They in no way detract from the content; i just found them to reinforce Gill's opinions on type and a reminder to the reader as to the natural imperfections of the Humane approach and the mechanical results and methods of Industry, each producing its own work and its own shortcomings.