Top positive review
Readable and informative
22 October 2014
I’ve always been interested in fonts (I still have an ancient Letraset catalogue round the house somewhere), but I can’t boast anything even approaching the degree of erudition, passion and obsession which is demonstrated in this book. It has made me far more aware of the fonts I see around me in the street, on food containers etc.
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.