Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just My Type


Today’s Nonfiction post is on Just My Type by Simon Garfield. It is 356 pages long including credits and an index. The cover has the title and author name in a red stripe down the middle with black above and below. The intended reader is someone who wants to know about the history of fonts or is a fan of Garfield’s work. There is no sex, minimal language, and no violence in this book. Thirteen and up because of some the very complex learning that happens with this book. It is told from third person with interviews and some of the author’s thoughts about fonts and their makers sprinkled in. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the book jacket- A delightfully inquisitive tour that explores the rich history and the subtle powers of type. Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product that we buy, But where do fonts come from, and why do we need so many? Who is behind the business-like subtlety of Times New Roman, the cool detachment of Arial, or the maddening lightness of Comic Sans (and the movement to ban it)? Simon Garfield embarks on a mission to answer these questions and more, and reveal what may be the very best and worst fonts in the world.
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 day of Gutenberg and ending with the adventurous digital fonts, Garfield unravels our age-old obsession with the way our words look. Just My Type investigates a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seemingly ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and what makes a font look presidential, male or female, American, British, German, or Jewish. From the typeface of Beatlemania to the graphic vision of the Obama campaign, fonts can signal a musical revolution or the rise of an American president. This book is a must-read for the design-conscious that will forever change the way you look at the printed world.

Review- This is the second book that I have read by Garfield. I liked On The Map better but this is still a good book. This is an interesting and fun history of type. Garfield goes from Gutenberg to the people who are creating the type for tomorrow.  He has chapter breaks with odd information about the people, events, or just odd things that happened when some typeface was being designed. Garfield’s intense research and attention to detail again makes his writing a joy to read. The only part that made my eyes water was when he was laying out the print matrix’s that were and are used. All those numbers and technical information was a little much but I do now know how Gutenberg set his type. I recommend this book for fun and informative about type history and the very colorful characters who made them.

I give this book Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.