Thoughts on: Just My Type: by Simon Garfield

September 7, 2011

About:
“Just My Type: A Book About Fonts” by Simon Garfield is a nonfiction book about fonts. After reading this book I will never look at signs the same way again.

  • 356 pages
  • Pub­lisher: Gotham
  • ISBN: 1592406521

The pub­lisher has made avail­able one (1) copy of “Just My Type” to be given out– enter at the end of the post.

My rating for Just My Type  – 5

Buy & Save on “Just My Type” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on:
Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK

Thoughts:
“Just My Type” by Simon Garfield (website | Twitter) is a humorous and entertaining book which will change the way you look at the world. Like me, most people probably don’t think much about fonts, unless they’re ugly, unfitting or difficult to read.

As it turned out there are font aficionados out there, enough to merit heavy discussions on IKEA changing its font and to religiously maintain Internet groups. That is not including those whose livelihood depends on fonts (authors, designers, advertisers, etc.).

Pangram: a phrase that contains all of the letters of the alphabet
If you know nothing about typography don’t worry, the second chapter explains common terms which you’ll want to know because the first chapter already hooked you in by discussing font related anecdotes about Comic Sans. Between chapters there are “Font Breaks”, which praise fonts, tells of font controversies as well as great stories about dead typographers and interviews with those who are still among the living.

The book is a quick tour around the world, not only by looking at road signs, but by including movies, TV shows, album covers, magazines, movies, computers and more. What I found even more fascinating is the misuse of fonts in movies, fonts that are used in time-period movies but have actually been created later in history.

In this lively book you’ll discover how fonts are picked for road signs (very important), how are they tested at high speeds and what do fonts say about products and politicians. Of course one could make the very legitimate argument that politicians are products, but that’s a different book.

Among the many tidbits in the book you’ll find some gems such as how the @ sign is called in different languages (strudel in Hebrew, escargot in French), the secrets of Rolling Stone’s “R” and why the “T” is lowered on the Beatles’ logo. You’ll also read stories about the font makers and their curious lives.

No book about fonts will be complete without the “worst of” section. Mr. Garfield does well by staying away from home made fonts and covering only those made by professionals; otherwise that section would prove to be unruly.

Mr. Garfield did a great job writing an intriguing book on, what could have been a very boring subject, the history and analysis of fonts. The author completed that feat by writing a cheeky book about the human side and our reaction to fonts. An added detail to this wonderful book is that most of the font names are printed in that font.

Synopsis:
The book documents the history of fonts and typefaces from Gutenberg to modern digitized versions. Using humor the author tells of the impact of fonts on business and culture.

Buy & Save on “Just My Type” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on:
Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK

Give­away

Rules:

  • Con­test is for one (1) new copy of “Just My Type”.
  • There will be ONE (1) WINNER
  • Must be a US/Canada mail­ing Address
  • Ends Sep­tem­ber 13, 2011
  • Win­ners will be cho­sen using Random.org
  • Win­ners will have 24 hours after my ini­tial con­tact to write back their mail­ing address, oth­er­wise alter­nate win­ners will be picked
  • Please con­sider join­ing the FACEBOOK BOOK GIVEAWAY group

Congratulations: Darlene’s Book Nook

TLC Book Tour for “Just My Type”:
Monday, August 15th:  Melody & Words
Tuesday, August 16th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, August 17th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Thursday, August 18th:  Books Like Breathing
Monday, August 22nd:  A Home Between Pages
Tuesday, August 23rd:  Steph and Tony Investigate
Wednesday, August 24th:  1330V
Thursday, August 25th:  2 Kids and Tired
Friday, August 26th:  Amused by Books
Monday, August 29th:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, August 31st:  Simply Stacie
Thursday, September 1st:  BookNAround
Tuesday, September 6th:  Bibliosue
Wednesday, September 7th:  Man of La Book
Thursday, September 8th:  My Book Retreat
Monday, September 12th:  Lit and Life
Wednesday, September 14th:  In the Pages

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour pro­mo­tion.
Article first published as Book Review: Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield on Blogcritics.

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15 Comments

  • Suzanne September 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Loved the cartoon in your post. I personally enjoyed Garfield’s discussion of the ampersand and the “controversy” over Arial.

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours September 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Have you ever seen the documentary “Helvetica”? It is a fascinating look at that particular font and I really enjoyed it.

    I definitely want a copy of this book for myself – I know I’d really enjoy it

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    • zohar September 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

      Hi Heather, no I haven’t seen Helvetica but it’s mentioned in the book several times.

  • Michelle September 7, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Not entering your giveaway as I have a copy of my very own, but I really enjoyed this book, and now want an interrobang key on my laptop!

  • Liz September 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    John Dunning made fonts fascinating in Bookman’s Wake.

  • Heather September 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I have heard so many good things about this book. I’m looking forward to reading it in the future.

  • bookspersonally September 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Sounds very cool! Worked at a print shop in my teens, back when things had to be sent out to typesetters. People have remarkably strong feelings for and against fonts, it’s definitely personal.

    • zohar September 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      Then you’d definitely find this book interesting.

  • Darlene September 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Sounds like an interesting and unique book! Thanks for the giveaway!

    • zohar September 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      Good luck 🙂

  • Cori September 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I love typography and fonts! I also have to recommend “Helvetica” — it’s a great documentary. If you want a silly little book about pangrams, try “Ella Minnow Pea.” It’s really clever!

  • Glenda September 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Thanks for sponsoring the Just My Type give away. Im looking forward to reading the book, regardless of the contest outcome.

  • Aths September 24, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I wasn’t so sure about what to expect from this book, but from your review, I like the sound of it!

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