A delightfully inquisitive tour that explores the rich history and the subtle powers of fonts.
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 businesslike 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 days of Gutenberg and ending with the most 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 word.
“This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Lynne Truss’s best-selling
Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation: made it noticeable for people who had no idea they were interested in such things.” —
Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Whether you''re a graphic designer or a layperson with no background in this area, reading what Garfield has to say will change the way you perceive the written word forever.”
The Los Angeles Times
“A deliriously clever and entertaining book”
The Boston Globe
“Informative, delightful — and essential reading for word geeks everywhere.”
The Seattle Times
“Lively […] intriguing […] a cheeky book about the human side and our reaction to fonts.”
Seattle Post Intelligencer
“Highly entertaining … Garfield takes readers on a rollicking tour of the world of typography, from book jackets to road signs, TV shows to computers.”
“Reading Simon Garfield’s
Just My Type can transform your daily life into an endless quest for knowledge of the typefaces in which signs, books, magazines, newspapers, etc. are set.”
“Garfield’s romping history (with multitype text) is zestfully informative.”
“Funny and fascinating, irreverent and playful yet endlessly illuminating, the book is an absolute treat for the type-nerd, design history geek, and general lover of intelligent writing with humor.”
“A thoroughly entertaining, well-informed tour of typefaces”
“Garfield has a light touch and moves effortlessly among various aspects of typography past and present […] Highly recommended to all, whether or not you feel predisposed to like this kind of thing! Eye-opening and mind-expanding!”
A “lively romp through the history of fonts. Garfield’s evocative prose […] entices us to see letters instead of just reading them.”
Simon Garfield is the author of twelve acclaimed books of nonfiction. He lives in London and St. Ives, Cornwall, and currently has a soft spot for Requiem Fine Roman and HT Galeria.