Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Just My Type by Simon Garfield

Goodreads:  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 barley 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. 

Kritters Thoughts:  I may not be the girl who notices the small details or differences in ads or commercials, but I do love how the subtle differences in font can change the way something reads.  As a bona-fide reader, I can definitely feel a difference between a more manly font compared to a more feminine font.  From the history of fonts and typography to where a few fonts were specifically created, this book took a humorous and educational approach to teaching the reader what makes a font a font.  

At times there was a little too much education for me, but I think even your average reader would love to learn about how the art of typography has evolved, even from the production side.  How the computer has completely changed how accessible fonts are?  And to the job of a font designer - where is the money?  

A book that I am passing onto my sister a graphic designer, craft guru, but also one that I would pass onto my fellow reader.  Why is one drawn to a certain font?  How does Microsoft dictate what font is default?  I think this book answers many questions that the typical reader may have thought from time to time.

Rating:  definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Pages:  288

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author in conjunction with Crazy Book tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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