Bedside reading #1 Simon Garfield: Just My Type

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If you’re a type addict like me you will love this book. It’s the story of type design – something which affects all of us, but which not many of us consciously notice.

In the early nineties, I started commuting into London from Oxford by coach. Along the Westway there was a large building called The London Typesetting Centre. It closed down a little while later. And a short while after that I arrived in work one day to find an Apple Mac II on my desk. Typesetting was no longer the preserve of experts. It was open to everyone. Now everyone knows what a font is.

(Technically, though, a font is the collective noun for the metal bits of type. The design of the letters is the typeface. However, we use the terms interchangably these days.)

We might know their names but we don’t know much about them. For example, my latest book was set in Sabon, an elegant type designed by the great Jan Tschichold in the early 1960s. but it’s named after Jacques Sabon, owner of a sixteenth century type foundry in Fankfurt. And to think I just chose it because I could fit more words in…

All the great fonts are in this book: Baskerville, Garamond, Gill Sans, Helvetica, Frutiger, Futura. And the infamous fonts, as well: Souvenir, Brush Stroke and, of course, Comic Sans. As someone who designs books and who has favourite fonts (ITC Galliard and Gill Sans, since you ask) I found it fascinating, but anyone who works with type will enjoy it.

See here for the complete list