Just My Type

A Book About Fonts

Garfield, Simon

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Just My Type
Penguin Putnam

A hugely entertaining and revealing guide to the history of type that asks, What does your favorite font say about you?

Fonts surround us every day, on street signs 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 (and the movement to ban it)?

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, Simon Garfield explores the rich history and subtle powers of type. He goes on to investigate 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. It also examines why the "T" in the Beatles logo is longer than the other letters and how Gotham helped Barack Obama into the White House. A must-have book for the design conscious, Just My Type's cheeky irreverence will also charm everyone who loved Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Schott's Original Miscellany.

Baker & Taylor
A North American edition of an internationally best-selling work by the award-winning author of The Cheese Monkeys documents the history of typefaces from the early days of Gutenberg to the modern applications of digital fonts, tracing the impact of font usage in business and pop culture while explaining what favorite fonts reveal about personality.

& Taylor

Documents the history of typefaces from the early days of Gutenberg to the modern applications of digital fonts, tracing the impact of font usage in business and pop culture while explaining what favorite fonts reveal about personality.

Publisher: New York : Gotham Books, 2011, c2010
ISBN: 9781592406524
Branch Call Number: 686.224 G
Characteristics: 356 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.


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Feb 27, 2013
  • LDuke2012 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is my 2nd attempt to write a review on the book “Just My Type” by Simon Garfield. I wrote this lovely review that got eaten by my phone so here we go again. A causal browse through my bookshelves will indicate that a book called “just my type” would be right up my preferred genre’s alley but you would be wrong.
This isn’t mass market romantic fiction but a book about fonts. I’m writing my review in Arial Narrow point 11 but have no idea what it will turn into when I copy and paste into the library and goodreads review sites. I recommend this book to just about everyone that has an interest in history, art, graphic design, or how the alphabet used can make or break a sales pitch.
I think you have to develop an eye for fonts like you develop an ear for sound when learning a foreign language or musical instrument. It is for this reason I give this book 4 instead of 5 stars, simply because I couldn’t figure out what font the main text was printed in. In the “good old days” of publishing a hard back book would often have a page at the end of the book saying this book was published in XYZ font, # point on an ABC printing press. I always looked at those pages and thought, Huh, why does the average reader care. I think the average reader doesn’t but that was a subtle marketing tactic by the publishers and perhaps required by the font designers so credit was given where credit was due. The author may have stated the type of font used but I missed it. I found the info about digital fonts sad but inevitable.
I have always known that fonts played a big part in marketing messages and advertisements, in which the way an alphabetic letter is shapes brings out differing emotions in people. I didn’t really get into whys and wherefores of different fonts until I started selling Yellow Book ads and many business owners wanted a font that matched their logo in their display ads. I wanted their ads to be legible. I truly believe a good font in most cases is undemanding of its reader because of good clarity and legibility.
I’ve seen a Gutenberg Bible and understand the revolution that he caused by inventing the movable type printing press. (That was a 4th or 5th grade trip to the Gutenberg museum in Mainz Germany, http://www.gutenberg-museum.de/index.php?id=29&L=1 (where my more pressing concern was what I was going to drink at lunch, we were asked while traveling from school on the army school bus for our orders so the restaurant would be ready for us. The options were Coke (forbidden in my house) and mineral water (which can be delicious or nasty depending on the brand and I didn’t know which brand would be offered), & tap water was most assuredly not being served by the wait staff that accommodated 60 plus American school kids after the trip to the museum)). But since I could read some German I read the placards while touring the museum and admired the fancy work done by the monks in the pre-mass printing bibles on display. Fonts have come a long way since Gutenberg and this is an enjoyable read.

Aug 20, 2012
  • d3chow rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Not a typical book I would read but browsed through it after seeing it on the Fast Reads section and seemed intriguing. Picked it up and turned out to be very interesting, informative and funny at times. A fun geeky read.

Jun 25, 2012
  • KarenW rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is about type, not personality type, but type. What you are reading now. and what you will be reading next. Font affects our emotions and our choices. Font makes us think of time past or present or future. And ever since Gutenburg carved the first letter out we have been seeing what the letters not only say but how they speak to us.

Sep 06, 2011
  • wac6 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Entertaining, covered a lot of ground, moved quickly. Book is well written and well designed. A pleasure.

Jul 15, 2011

saw a review of this book,

fonts and types
have been interesting to me
computer programs such as
coral draw, and photoshop


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