A book about fonts by Simon Garfield
We use fonts everyday and most people know the difference between a serif and sans-serif font, but beyond that will spend little time thinking about them.
Just My Type is an entertaining history about fonts and typefaces (I finally know the difference between them) and gives an insight in the people behind the fonts we use today, the era in which they were created, for what purpose and how printing has evolved since Gutenberg.
There is gossip – John Baskerville had a live-in house keeper, who then became his lover, and later his wife.
There is dispute – the entire Doves type (the casts to make the type and all the letters ever made) ended up on the bottom of the Thames after Doves Press dissolved and one half of the partnership decided not to stick to the legal agreement that had been drawn up.
There is a curious tale – a French government agency in charge of copyright protection on the internet ended up using a font designed for exclusive use by another company.
And there is the fact that typographers don’t get rich from their art – the original draughtsman of Helvetica died penniless.
It’s an obvious book for type lovers, but anybody else might find it a useful read too.