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Design, communication and what's on our mind

Just our type

It has been written that if Simon Garfield were reduced to a letter and a type style, he would be the lowercase “i” in Goudy Old Style—elegant but playful. And very readable. Recently, I came across Garfield’s Just My Type: A Book About Fonts. On the front cover, the title was treated as a hodgepodge of fonts, from Adriator Regular to Polytone Reliant; the back cover assigned the book, in tiny type and in a bizarre bifurcation, to “Reference/Humour.”

Fonts surround us every day, on billboards and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product we buy. But where do fonts come from, and why do we need so many? Who is responsible for the staid practicality of Times New Roman, the cool anonymity of Arial, or the irritating levity of Comic Sans?

Beginning in the early days of Gutenberg and ending with the most adventurous digital fonts, Garfield explores the rich history and subtle powers of type. He investigates a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seeming ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and exactly why the all-type cover of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was so effective. In summary, it’s a must-have book for the design conscious.

Filed under: Communication, Design