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Just My Type: A Book about Fonts – It's What We're Reading


November
2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

Just My TypeJust My Type: A Book about Fonts
Simon Garfield

We are surrounded by fonts but, until recently, people outside the design community gave them little thought. Personal computers brought the word “font” into everyday use, along with a myriad of font choices available to the layperson within popular software programs. With the advent of desktop publishing came an explosion of do-it-yourself fliers, posters, invitations, zines and books, many of dubious aesthetic quality. Garfield strives to make us more aware of the consequences of font choice (our own and others’) by considering the balance of beauty and readability and what makes “good” and “bad” fonts for different purposes.  He delves into the of rich history of type and font design, acquainting us with fascinating type designers along the way. Who knew that some of those familiar names on our font dropdown menus, such as Gill, Garamond, Baskerville, and Bodoni, were real people? Garfield is a wonderful storyteller, breathing life into arcane details. Consider the struggles of the man who tried to go through an entire day avoiding the ubiquitious Helvetica font. Or try your hand at spotting anachronistic fonts in movies set in the past. The book itself is masterfully designed, of course, with numerous typeface illustrations. Brief “Fontbreaks” between chapters focus on the curious history of particular fonts, including a sample paragraph in the type under discussion. Because of the importance of the illustrative matter to this topic, I would suggest you seek out the print version of this title rather than the audiobook.

This book can be found in the Audio Book collection  on the first floor of the Library.