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Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,211 Ratings  ·  1,108 Reviews
What's your type? Suddenly everyone's obsessed with fonts. Whether you're enraged by Ikea's Verdanagate, want to know what the Beach Boys have in common with easy Jet or why it's okay to like Comic Sans, Just My Type will have the answer. Learn why using upper case got a New Zealand health worker sacked. Refer to Prince in the Tafkap years as a Dingbat (that works on many ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Gotham (first published October 21st 2010)
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Richard Derus
Sep 06, 2013 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5* of five

***UPDATE 6 Sept 2013***I watched a documentary on Netflix last night called...yes...Helvetica! It was made for Helvetica's 50th anniversary in 2007. I think anyone who liked the idea of this book would enjoy it.

The Publisher Says: 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.
Will Byrnes
Aug 16, 2013 Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing
Updated - 7/9/13 - see link at bottom

I am hardly a monogamous sort. I find that I am regularly attracted to different types. Sometimes I like them with big bowls. I am definitely fond of zaftig with strokable, curvy edges, sometimes I prefer something a bit more conservative, upright, familiar. And rarely, slender even, maybe with sharp edges. Occasionally I go for something way out there, maybe with spikes or exploding bits. Ok, you can put your filthy mind back where it belongs now. We are tal
Jul 02, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
Drowning. Feuds. Nazis. Bestiality. Probably not topics you expect to find in a book about fonts. Granted, the drowning was of the Doves font (its creator threw the matrices and the metal letters into the Thames river instead of bequeathing his perfect font to anyone else after his death). And the feuds range the gamut from public backlash over IKEA changing its font from Futura to Verdana to the online movement against Comic Sans (the world's worst font, allegedly). And detail-oriented Nazis de ...more
Apr 02, 2016 Richard rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Richard by: Julie Van huizen
This book answers such basic questions as: What exactly is a typeface? What's the difference between a typeface and a font? What specific features make them good or bad--assuming one can qualify them subjectively in this way? Why are there so many? And why do people keep designing more? Why are some so well liked, whereas others are almost universally mocked and vilified? Why are old ones still used today, whereas many newer (and carefully designed) ones will never be more than historical curios ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Trevor rated it really liked it
Shelves: language, reference, art
I’ll need to look it up when I get home, I guess, but Peter Carey in Theft – A Love Story – or rather, after he has finished the book – says what font the book needs to be printed in. Always a bit of a wanker, this goes some way to push Carey into extreme-nerd-wanker-land.

Now, not that I can talk. I’ve just finished and enjoyed a book on fonts – and a talking book on fonts (which, no matter how beautifully read. you would have to say, somewhat misses the point). But although I’m guilty, in the w
Laura Fudge
May 09, 2011 Laura Fudge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m only just on target with my challenge, and I think this is because this is another genre of books that I am not swift at reading! I would normally dip into books like this and going at it all in one go wasn’t difficult, but I did go a day every now and again where I didn’t pick this up… I think this is mainly because this topic is linked to my job and after spending all day designing and looking at typefaces, occasionally (as much as I love the subject!) I didn’t want to then carry on readin ...more
Jul 10, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
Note: I won this book in a First Reads giveaway.

This made for an enjoyable and easy read. For anyone who’s studied typography or design, I can’t imagine the book would contain anything they don’t already know, but for a clueless layman like myself it’s full of interesting information on something most of us probably give little thought to. As someone coming to this book with precious little knowledge on the subject beyond a passing familiarity with some of the more widely-used fonts out there,
Sep 09, 2013 Katy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those w/ interest in typography, fonts, history of print
Recommended to Katy by: netGalley
Read and reviewed in May 2012, just updated my review to my current ordering system.

Book Information: Genre: Nonfiction, typography
Recommended for: People interested in the typography that surrounds us.

My Thoughts: I find fonts fascinating; I love to use unusual fonts in personal correspondence (although I prefer Times New Roman for other uses), and I love to learn about fonts and typesetting, which leads me to read the little bit at the end of many books that tells about the font being used in
Lubinka Dimitrova
What can I say? This was one of the best books I've read in a while. Of course, I'll never forgive it for completely ruining any chance I'd ever have to simply enjoy a sign on a shop or a book cover or a restaurant menu, or any written item I chance to see around me. I can never go back to simply "reading" the title, instead I examine the font and wonder what subliminal message it conveys (and more often than not, the shop owner or movie poster designer might not even imagine what their choice o ...more
Feb 25, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who's ever yearned to kern...
Recommended to Alan by: The total package
Hard to believe, perhaps, but this book about fonts, typefaces, the shapes of the letters that make up the text we read every day, is lively and entertaining in a way that defies its only apparently trivial topic. From the reviled Comic Sans, to the historic impacts of powerhouse fonts like Times New Roman and Helvetica, to less common faces (like one of my personal favorites, Zapf Optima), Simon Garfield shares his enthusiasm for type in a series of clear, erudite, and wide-ranging essays. You ...more
Jan 23, 2012 Viola rated it it was ok
In this day and age, we easily have the choice of at least fifty fonts in a drop down menu all at a click of a button. Changing the text on your screen from Arial to Times New Roman to Comic Sans can be done in mere minutes. Whether we are writing a paper, a wedding invitation, or creating a presentation, the fonts we choose are important and impactful.

But typesetting wasn’t always at the fingertips of the layperson. It was in the realm of professionals.

Simon Garfield offers us a glimpse into th
Dec 04, 2013 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: office-copy
(3.5) First book I've read on this topic, learned a bit

I liked the historical discussion as well as the brief introduction to the terminology of typefaces and typography. I wish Garfield spent more time here so that he could use the more precise language to describe many of the fonts that he discusses.

Did a good job of using the fonts themselves in the text (though from a few bugs in the ARC it looked like maybe they were pasted textboxes on top of the text?--how daunting a task to be responsibl
Feb 03, 2012 Wyma rated it liked it
Just think - Garfield reminds us - before the personal computer most people knew next to nothing about typeface. But once we were given the opportunity to use it, we took off and often overdid it, used the same typeface for everything (comic sans), or used multiple typefaces on a page rather than bothering with expressive language. But that was part of the learning process and most of us settled in to a few reliable typefaces, which we call fonts. That's another thing I like about this author. H ...more
Nov 03, 2015 Daphne rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-audio, quest
I REALLY did enjoy this one. Who would have thought a book all about fonts would be so exciting and interesting. It was quite well written, and kept my interest throughout. Considering how little I knew about fonts walking into this book, I can't believe how much more knowledge I've gained.
The language of letter meets the language of Art … and it’s one hell of a rave.

The dustcover of “Just My Font” gets the party going. Heavy metal, hot type, eight eclectic fonts; none of which I’d heard of : Adriator Regular, Aeronaut, Flirt Bold, Cyclone, Adam Gorry-Inline, Shuttlestock Decorative Alphabet, PopUps, and Polytone Reliant are just some of the actors and actresses in this play. What a party! Mind-altering drugs not required.

Having been slapped in the face by the equivalent of a bask
Jeeves Williams
Jul 07, 2016 Jeeves Williams rated it really liked it
Shelves: design, i-own
You'd think a book entirely focused on typefaces would only interest those with a keen interest in graphic design, but no, Simon Garfield's font-filled fact-fest appeals to the everyday reader, too. Anyone from the most experienced of typographical artists to your average computer user whose knowledge of fonts stretches no further than Arial and Comic Sans will enjoy it. Packed to the brim with interesting stuff about all areas of the field of typography. Each chapter revolves around a single to ...more
Apr 04, 2013 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, humor
Considerably readable, this book is informative and inspiring regarding each font's interesting inception, ‘typographic engineer’ and impact on the printing, advertising and communicating world dating back years ago till present days. It’s inspiring due to different font examples that help its readers decide which one should be more appropriate in what context and why.

I recalled vaguely, more than a decade ago, it was advised not to send a message in capital letters. For instance, we’re kindly i
Sep 02, 2011 Grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who Knew?

If the reader is looking for a book that simply places full alphabet pages of the various typefaces or fonts available today, this is not the book you're looking for. Yes, all of those fonts form the beginning of printing to the present are indeed present in Simon Garfield's JUST MY TYPE but instead of a study book of fonts, this is a commentary on the history of fonts that is tremendously entertaining as well as informative.

Some features one would not expect in a book of this nature i
Nicki Markus
Aug 26, 2011 Nicki Markus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-non-fiction
This is a fun and interesting read that is perfect for all the font nerds out there and anyone who is interested in areas such as design, marketing and IT history.

I thought I had a pretty good idea about different fonts until this book opened my eyes. There were so many fonts I'd never heard of and others that I knew without realising they had once been designed for a specific purpose before becoming mainstream.

This book combined chapters on the general history of type and fonts with sections de
Mar 20, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truthfully, as a child that came up nearly entirely within the digital age, I never really gave much thought to typeface or fonts. As I would imagine that most others of my generation have done, I simply took these items for granted. Furthermore, I presumed the only utility of choosing between 'Word' fonts was to come in just below, or right at, the page limit of my high school and college assignments. 'Just My Type' has opened my eyes into the utterly fascinating world of type, typeface, and fo ...more
Feb 02, 2013 Becky rated it really liked it
This book is seemingly written for a niche audience - the sort of people who talk about fonts the way others might talk about wine, or who spot typeface anachronisms in movies. I am not in this crowd, though I did have a favorite font in high school (ITC Officina Sans, mentioned on page 182) and a month ago I pondered aloud the different fonts used on Interstate signs (this topic is also covered!). So when this book was mentioned in an article on I had enough mild interest to look it u ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Rose rated it it was amazing
Shelves: typography
I want to get excited when friends share celebrity news; really, I do. I can't bring myself to care, though. (And it's not a good thing either -- you're talking to someone who couldn't recognize Jennifer Lawrence until a couple months ago.) But give me some juicy gossip about a font or a typography shop, and I will drop everything to hear more.

When I'm in a new city, I sometimes almost get run over because I'm too busy looking at the fonts gracing signs and markers.

And so on. It's not easy bein
Mar 20, 2014 Eilonwy rated it really liked it
I'm never sure how to rate nonfiction. I enjoyed this book, which is really all that counts.
Jan 17, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing
Many of the books I “read” are in fact audiobooks, and I am a big fan of a good book read by a good reader. Well, here’s a book I cannot imagine choosing as an audio book. You really need to see the typefaces as you read about their histories, their uses, and their creators.

What does your favorite font say about you? There are many of us for whom that is not a silly question. This cleverly imagined and researched book is for us.

I bought my first Macintosh in 1984, and I was amazed to discover th
Peter Derk
Sep 25, 2013 Peter Derk rated it liked it
Well, this kind of breaks away from my normal rule against reading about super-small subcultures. You know, those books about professional Scrabble players or guys who build their own tiny cabins and release weird MP3's on their own web sites.

I spend a lot of time on the internet. Don't judge me.

But because this book isn't about weird PEOPLE (ostensibly) I figured it was worth a shot.

There are some interesting stories in here. A sexual deviant font designer. A gravestone with a Comic Sans inscr
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Aug 29, 2011 Audra (Unabridged Chick) rated it really liked it
Even if you're not normally one who cares much for fonts or typography, this effortless read will change how you view printed materials. Written in an easy, accessible, humorous style, Garfield explains the history of typography and font design (or type design).

The stories range from generally interesting to oh-my-god-I-need-brain-bleach horrifying (I'm telling you, I'll never view Gill Sans the same way again!). The chapters are about specific fonts and address specific topics (legibility versu
Jan 12, 2013 Simone rated it it was amazing
Original review at my blog, Writing by Numbers, here:

Wikipedia reveals that Garfield has authored twelve nonfiction books, on topics from Victorian synthetic dyes, to wrestling, to war diaries. Is he generally passionate about British social/cultural history, or a true aficionado of each topic? Regardless, he made me believe in his typeface enthusiasm. This is a history of fonts, and it made me laugh aloud on the subway. It’s a rollicking, punchy romp.

We’ll keep this simple, as I’ve put off writing this review for close to two weeks now.

I really enjoyed Just My Type. It was enjoyable and informative, written with simplicity and clarity and boosted by a good deal of visual material. Anyone who has never considered fonts beyond the drop-down menu of their word processing program of choice will enjoy this as an introduction to a rarified and seemingly invisible world, and those who do know font-lore and methodology will probably enjoy it as a c
Jan 24, 2016 Jerry rated it it was ok
As a lifelong enthusiast of computer technology, I have always loved fonts. One of the things I've always liked about Print Shop or other desktop publishing software is the new typefaces that come with them, as well as the ability to do crazy things with your text. As a result, you'd probably think I'd enjoy a book like this...but I didn't. Though it had its cute moments, it was dull overall, and had some unnecessary content. I think I'll stick to using fonts instead of reading about them.
Ted Brockwood
Jun 27, 2014 Ted Brockwood rated it really liked it
You don't have to work in design or typography or anything related to really enjoy this. It's just a really well written book about a subject that the average person knows little about. A good primer on fonts, and why they're cool and worth knowing more about!
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Simon Garfield is a British journalist and non-fiction author. He was educated at the independent University College School in Hampstead, London, and the London School of Economics, where he was the Executive Editor of The Beaver. He also regularly writes for The Observer newspaper.
More about Simon Garfield...

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