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Just My Type: A Book about Fonts Hardcover – Large Print, October 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I would not like to read pages set in any of the fonts in one of Garfield's last chapters, "The Worst Fonts in the World." On the list is Papyrus, which caused a stir when it was used extensively in the film _Avatar_. The expensive film used a free (and overused) display font, and font fans noticed.Read more ›
Fonts came into being with the invention of the printing press in the late 15th century. It is shocking to realise that the printing of books for the masses has only existed for a fraction of man's existence. Books are such an integral of our lives that its amazing to think only 600 years ago books were owned only by the very wealthy or religious orders.
Garfield traces the history of fonts from their earliest days, paying special attention to those which we're most familiar with - Helvetica, Gill Sans, Arial, and Akzidenz Grotesk (a favorite of mine, if only for the name). He writes about the artisans behind the lettering, and most interesting, how certain fonts cause emotional responses in the people who view them. Why were some fonts popular for hundreds of years, only to fall from favor? How do fonts determine what consumers buy and what they don't buy? And how boring our lives would be if everything was printed in the same font.
Garfield has a lively writing style and is never boring. He gives a very good reference section at the back of the book, which is very helpful to those readers who want to know more.
By the way, if you're reading this, then be sure to read the review by Rob Hardy in this section. His long and interesting review is spot on - he's a reviewer's reviewer - and Rob's are the gold standard of reviews.
As I've previously found with works by Malcolm Gladwell & Atul Gawande, Simon Garfield's book was both fun to read an intellectually gratifying in its combination of light-touch prose and eye-opening history. It's not exaggerating to say this book has changed my whole perception of the reading experience from both a tactile and an historical point of view. Indeed it changes my visual appreciation of the world OUTSIDE of books in a way that hasn't happened since my sitting through two semesters of The History of Western Art in college! Immersed while on the crosstown bus, I found myself lifting my eyes to examine every awning I passed, wondering what is that font, how old is it, who chose it for this store or billboard, etc. etc.
Per Janet Maslin's rave in the New York Times, I really hope JUST MY TYPE becomes a surprise hit like Lynne Truss's EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES -- and for the same word-loving audience, not just (excuse the pun) graphic design types. It deserves it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book can be hard to read if only because it stars a group that contains hundreds of characters. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Ryan Mease
I'm just discovering fonts. This was marvelously entertaining as well as instructive. Definitely recommend it for a novice.Published 7 months ago by violee
Simon Garfield has a way of taking something you never think about into an engaging read that makes you wonder how that ever escaped your notice. This time it is fonts. Read morePublished 8 months ago by ARG