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The Anatomy of Type

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  115 ratings  ·  16 reviews
A visual treat for anyone who loves fonts and typographic design.

The Anatomy of Type explores one hundred traditional and modern typefaces in loving detail, with a full spread devoted to each entry. The full character set from each typeface is shown, and the best letters for identification are enlarged and annotated, revealing key features, anatomical details, and the fine
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ebook, 256 pages
Published December 18th 2012 by Harper Design (first published November 6th 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Rachel
Who cares whether a typeface has a binocular "g," ball terminals, a closed aperture on the "a" and "e," or ink traps?

I do, I do!

Who really thinks fonts can have a "clean, sensible demeanor," a "sweet, almost dainty nature," "a perfect balance of function and beauty," or "frilly lace"?

Me again!

Who delights in phrases like, "Minion is perhaps the most vanilla of serif typefaces"?

Oooh, pick me!

If you are interested in fonts (and their history and function and elements), browse this work of art. If
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N.J. Ramsden
Beautifully presented examples of 100 typefaces, mostly contemporary, some classic, along with pointers to their identifying or noteworthy features. A useful and interesting guide, neatly disguised as a coffee-table browser. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than that, so don't expect a detailed commentary, or mathematical breakdowns of fine design elements - overall, very pleasant and a good accessible reference.
Owen
Not nearly enough detail in the narrative, and while the huge showings of sample words are great—and Coles correctly points out the unique design details—there's no other sample setting, no showing (and usually not even a mention) of other styles in the family, no examples in use.... I would have rather seen that level of detail (on more pages per face) and fewer faces in the book. Yes, there were quite a few new designs included (new to me, new overall—some I think even date from as recently as ...more
Meg Prom
This was a great introduction into the world of fonts and typefaces. It didn't get too technical and was a marvelous page turner due to page after page of diverse and nicely described fonts.
Michael
Excellent history of typeface design and selection of examples. Only complaint: for text faces, samples of running text (at ordinary point sizes) would have been useful.
Vuk Trifkovic
Beautiful book. Insightful way to dissect the fonts and top marks for witty and honest usage recommendations for each font.
Jane
Well organized and beautifully laid out. Only wish it was more comprehensive with more typefaces.
Serge Pierro
Anyone interested in typography would find this book to be interesting. Each of the typefaces presented within are given two facing pages. The entire alphabet is displayed in upper and low case, along with numbers and other characters. There is a large display of the typeface with annotations on the various attributes that are unique to it. There is also a short paragraph that talks about the typeface, and some of these sections include a "Good for:" recommendation - to indicate situations in w ...more
Mitchell
Reading this book is great way to get acquainted with the history of typography. You'll learn how to speak about typefaces with the proper terminology, how to identify them by their features, and when they should be used.
Allyson
I unfortunately only breezed through this quickly as unable to renew due to a "hold" @ the library. There is an incredible amount of information and great graphics with indepth descriptions of so many types and fonts and everything. Something I want to borrow again to browse through repeatedly.
Georg
This volume does keep what the title promises, but no more than that. The complexity of type classification is not really reflected, let alone discussed. Some use guidance would have been nice, but is mostly absent.
Christian Herro
Excellent coffee table book for anyone interested in typography. Not a ton of depth, as everything is presented in almost infographic style, but it's full of interesting bits of information.
Alex
I think this would make a terrific coffee table book. The content doesn't quite have the depth I was hoping for, though.
Mike
I don't know why in so fascinated by type. A pleasing font soothes my inner person.
Amro
A wonderful book for anyone who likes type and typography.
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purchase ebook copy 2 6 Jul 20, 2014 10:00AM  
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Stephen Coles is a writer and typographer living in Oakland and Berlin. After six years at FontShop as a creative director, he now publishes Fonts In Use, Typographica, and The Mid-Century Modernist, and consults with various organizations on typeface selection. Stephen is author of the book The Anatomy of Type (The Geometry of Type in the UK) and a columnist for Print magazine.
More about Stephen Coles...
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