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

Just My Type by Simon Garfield
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's review
Jun 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, non-fiction
Read from July 05 to 09, 2011

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, I found it contained just the right amount of technical detail to satisfy the curiosity of a non-expert, served up with plenty of anecdotal information and examples that made it very readable and accessible. I enjoyed learning about the people, stories and original purpose behind various typefaces, and how they came to be. The book also finally solved for me the ‘mystery’ (which I had vaguely wondered about, but apparently not enough to bother spending two minutes of my life researching the answer) of where Calibri suddenly sprang from back in 2007.

I liked the way that in most cases, the book gave an example of the typeface being discussed, especially the chapters devoted to a specific typeface, which use the entire first paragraph as an example, giving the reader a better feel for what the author's saying. However, in some cases, where a typeface is just mentioned in passing, the example is limited to just setting the font name in that face, which I found mildly infuriating when the author is writing about how the typeface in question features particularly attractive or unique letters which are not used in the font name, leaving me trying to picture what’s being described and wanting to run to the computer and look the thing up and see for myself. The copy I received was an uncorrected proof, though, so this may be addressed at a later stage.

This is the kind of book you can easily dip in and out of, although I read it straight through over the course of a few days. If, like me, you’re no expert but have ever found yourself admiring a particularly appealing typeface and wanting to know what it is, or grinding your teeth over a colleague’s inexplicable choice of font, you will probably find this one worth a go.
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Reading Progress

07/06/2011 page 35
10.0% "Yay! My First Reads win arrived sooner than expected and I started reading as soon as I got it out of the packaging. It's very well-written and full of interesting anecdotes rather than dull facts. Definitely enjoying this one so far!"
07/09/2011 page 275
77.0% "Getting a bit sick of fonts at this point, but a good & interesting book overall!"
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Candace (new)

Candace It could be an interesting read! Congrats:)

message 2: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy Neftzger This looks like really cool book and one that I would enjoy. I would never think to look for a book on the topic, though. Very cool!

message 3: by Qurat (new)

Qurat How do you win books?

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