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Just My Type: A Book about Fontsby Simon Garfield
Synopses & Reviews
Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product we buy. But where do fonts come from, and why do we need so many? Who is responsible for the staid practicality of Times New Roman, the cool anonymity of Arial, or the irritating levity of Comic Sans (and the movement to ban it)?
Typefaces are now 560 years old, but we barely knew their names until about twenty years ago when the pull-down font menus on our first computers made us all the gods of type. Beginning in the early days of Gutenberg and ending with the most adventurous digital fonts, Simon Garfield explores the rich history and subtle powers of type. He goes on to investigate a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seeming ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and exactly why the all-type cover of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was so effective. It also examines why the "T" in the Beatles logo is longer than the other letters and how Gotham helped Barack Obama into the White House. A must-have book for the design conscious, Just My Type's cheeky irreverence will also charm everyone who loved Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Schott's Original Miscellany.
"Printed type is no mere neutral conveyor of ideas but an artistic medium in its own right, with psychological, social, and even sexual overtones, according to this lively romp through the history of fonts. Garfield (The End of Innocence) surveys fonts from Gutenberg's dour Gothic and the elegant classicism of Garamond to the childlike faux-naÃ¯vetÃ© of Comic Sans, now so widely used for everything from medical brochures to tombstones that a movement has arisen to ban it. Along the way he revisits the sometimes lurid lives of the great typographers — incest and bestiality included — and explores the legibility of highway signs and the subliminal messaging of presidential campaign fonts. There's much pop psychology here — heavy, angular fonts seem male, apparently, while thin, curlicued ones are female — and a lot of engaging connoisseurship that occasionally goes overboard, especially when comparing look-alike modern sans serif fonts: you have to strain at gnats to distinguish the ubiquitous corporate cordiality of Helvetica from the 'slightly softer and more rounded tone' of Arial. Regardless, Garfield's evocative prose — Cooper Black is 'the sort of font the oils in a lava lamp would form if smashed to the floor' — entices us to see letters instead of just reading them. Photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Whether you're a hardcore typophile or a type-tyro, there's something here for you: be it the eye-opening revelations of Eric Gill's utter and complete perversity, or the creation of the typeface that helped Mr. Obama gain entrance to the White House." Chip Kidd
"There is even a photograph of a quick brown fox literally jumping over a lazy dog. What a clever, clever book." Lynne Truss
"Did I love this book? My daughter's middle name is Bodoni. Enough said." Maira Kalman
"With wit, grace and intelligence, Simon Garfield tells the fascinating stories behind the letters that we encounter every day on our street corners, our bookstore shelves, and our computer screens." Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram Design, New York, and author of Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design
"Simon Garfield reveals an invisible world behind the printed word... the lives of the designers and the letters they've created have never been more clearly detailed with so much flair." Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, author of Encyclopedia of the Exquisite
An eye-opening adventure deep inside theand#160;everyday materials that surround us,and#160;from concrete and steel to denim and chocolate, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science.
An eye-opening adventure deep inside the everyday materials that surround us, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally-renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world. In Stuff Matters, Miodownik entertainingly examines the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor and the graphite in his pencil to the foam in his sneakers and the concrete in a nearby skyscraper. He offers a compendium of the most astounding histories and marvelous scientific breakthroughs in the material world, including:
From the teacup to the jet engine, the silicon chip to the paper clip, the plastic in our appliances to the elastic in our underpants, our lives are overflowing with materials. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.
The New York Times bestselling author of Just My Type and On the Map offers an ode to letter writing and its possible salvation in the digital age.
Few things are as excitingand#151;and potentially life-changingand#151;as discovering an old letter. And while etiquette books still extol the practice, letter writing seems to be disappearing amid a flurry of e-mails, texting, and tweeting. The recent decline in letter writing marks a cultural shift so vast that in the future historians may divide time not between BC and AD but between the eras when people wrote letters and when they did not. So New York Times bestselling author Simon Garfield asks: Can anything be done to revive a practice that has dictated and tracked the progress of civilization for more than five hundred years?
In To the Letter, Garfield traces the fascinating history of letter writing from the love letter and the business letter to the chain letter and the letter of recommendation. He provides a tender critique of early letter-writing manuals and analyzes celebrated correspondence from Erasmus to Princess Diana. He also considers the role that letters have played as a literary device from Shakespeare to the epistolary novel, all the rage in the eighteenth century and alive and well today with bestsellers like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. At a time when the decline of letter writing appears to be irreversible, Garfield is the perfect candidate to inspire bibliophiles to put pen to paper and create and#147;a form of expression, emotion, and tactile delight we may clasp to our heart.and#8221;
About the Author
Simon Garfield is the author of twelve acclaimed books of nonfiction. He lives in London and St. Ives, Cornwall, and currently has a soft spot for Requiem Fine Roman and HT Gelateria.
Chip Kidd is associate art director for Alfred A. Knopf, where his jacket designs have revolutionized the art of American book packaging. He is the author of numerous books, including The Cheese Monkeys.
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