James's Reviews > Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

Just My Type by Simon Garfield
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's review
Nov 28, 11

liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, read-in-2011
Read from November 23 to 27, 2011

I don't have a lot of knowledge about graphic design, but I found this book to be very easy to read and get into. Garfield did a nice job with making the book both basic enough for everyone, and detailed enough (from my limited understanding) for someone familiar with type to be able to enjoy the history of how some of the more well-known typefaces came about.

There's just one problem with the book. Even though the author makes a comment that a few hundred different fonts appear in the book, there's still not enough fonts. Or perhaps, there wasn't enough of a given font to fully understand what he's talking about sometimes. He'll go into a lengthy bit discussing the shape of the bowl for a lowercase 'g', explaining how it's different than some other font, but there's no example of it to be found. He explains that certain letters are more important to showing off the features of a given font, but there's no diagram to really explain why. I'm sure someone with a background in this would be able to understand all the terms he uses to describe a given typeface, but for someone like me, I need to see it, and unfortunately, there just wasn't enough. Yes, there are numerous graphics in the book that do show off various fonts, but for the most part, he simply shows off the font by having its name displayed in that font. Well, Mr Garfield, many of these typefaces have short names, and many of the names don't include all those various key letters and ligatures that you say best show off the features of a given font. Make another edition with more graphics, and you've got yourself a really neat book. As is, it gets three stars.

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