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Just My Type: A Book About Fonts [Hardcover]

Simon Garfield
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 32.00
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Book Description

Sept. 6 2011

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.


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Just My Type: A Book About Fonts + On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks
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Review

"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."
(-New York Times, Janet Maslin)

"Garfield takes readers on a rollicking tour of the world of typography."
(-USA Today)

"Garfield's engaging history of letter design will be eye candy...[Just My Type is] stuffed with fascinating bits of information...lively, richly illustrated "
(-NPR.org/Books We Like)

"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. It might even lead you to make more discerning choices the next time you have a desktop publishing project in front of you. The take-away from Garfield's book is simple: Contrary to reports of its premature death, print is very much alive."
(-Los Angeles Times)

"Just My Type, is informative, delightful - and essential reading for word geeks everywhere."
(-The Seattle Times)

"Charming and informative"
(-The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"You'll find a lot to like in this book....[it] informs as it entertains."
(-St. Louis Post Dispatch)

"Charming."
(-Tampa Bay Tribune)

"Deliriously clever and entertaining."
(-The Boston Globe)

"Packed with lively anecdotes"
(-The Boston Globe, Word Column)

"Well-researched."
(-The Philadelphia Intelligencer)

"Garfield's romping history (with multitype text) is zestfully informative."
(-Booklist)

"Deft and downright fun."
(-PureWow.com)

"A lively, informative survey of 560 years of typefaces and font choices that will probably make you select a font that is much more you." 
(-Shelf Awareness)

"Here is a wonderful update for those whose fondness for matters typographical predates the digital age, as well as those whose eyes need awakening to this particular enchantment. Garfield has a light touch and moves effortlessly among various aspects of typography past and present, not only from design perspectives but from accessible social, historical, and legal angles as well. Throughout, Garfield offers "fontbreaks" in which he focuses on the provenance of a particular typeface. An added pleasure: the book's own text switches fonts to briefly reflect the typeface under discussion. "Highly recommended to all, whether or not you feel predisposed to like this kind of thing! Eye-opening and mind-expanding!"
(-Starred Library Journal)

"[A] lively romp through the history of fonts. Garfield's evocative prose entices us to see letters instead of just reading them."
(-Publishers Weekly)

"A thoroughly entertaining, well-informed tour of typefaces...[Just My Type] offers an informed and pleasing answer, and a lively companion to books such as Robert Bringhurst's essential Elements of Typographic Style (1992) and John Lewis's classic Typography: Design and Practice."
(-Kirkus Reviews)

"Whether you're a hardcore typophile or a type-tyro, there's something here for you: be it the eye-opening revelations of Eric Gill's utter and complete perversity, or the creation of the typeface that helped Mr. Obama gain entrance to the White House."
(-Chip Kidd)

"There is even a photograph of a quick brown fox literally jumping over a lazy dog. What a clever, clever book."
(-Lynne Truss)

"Did I love this book? My daughter's middle name is Bodoni. Enough said."
(-Maira Kalman)

"With wit, grace and intelligence, Simon Garfield tells the fascinating stories behind the letters that we encounter every day on our street corners, our bookstore shelves, and our computer screens." -Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram Design, New York, and author of Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design


"Simon Garfield reveals an invisible world behind the printed word... the lives of the designers and the letters they've created have never been more clearly detailed with so much flair."
(-Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, author of Encyclopedia of the Exquisite)

About the Author

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 Gelateria.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FONTASTIC Jan. 22 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading this book, you will never look at public signs, newspapers, advertising, or even your computer settings the same again.
Just My Type by Simon Garfield is a brilliant little book on a topic you would think boring beyond belief. But you would be wrong, for there is a lot to learn about how fonts and type sets affect the way we read and think.
Thousands of fonts are all around us and we are affected by them in an almost subliminal manner. Why do some ads attract us more than others? Why is the masthead of a newspaper written in a gothic style? Why are highway signs printed in lower case letters? And why did IKEA change its font from Futura to Verdana, and endure the fury of some of its customers? All is answered here, with wit and style.
Some fonts have become almost omnipresent, and once it is pointed out by Garfield, we suddenly see them everywhere. Signs in aeroports are likely to be in Frutiger because it is so highly visible. Johnson Sans was created for the London Underground and one only has to read Cockfosters in that font and know that it is a Tube station. Some are highly readable, such as Cochin, or highly legible, such as Helvetica, or look legal and important like Baskerville, or monumental (Trajan), or just beautiful (Garamond). Then there are the overused or ugly fonts, such as Comic Sans and Times New Roman. You will now see roadside signs and think, what on earth were they thinking of?
Just My Type is a wonderful, useful book and a pleasure to read, and not just because it is printed in Sabon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 12 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written, well read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read April 25 2013
By bB
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Am a graphic designer and am in love with fonts.
I could not put it down, a most enjoyable read.
Must say. . . this book is full of great characters!
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