nonfiction, reviews

Review: Just My Type by Simon Garfield

Just My Type: A Book about Fonts

Simon Garfield

356 pages

Pub. Date: September 2011

Publisher: Gotham Books, an imprint of Penguin

Source: Publisher

I love font. I have a few favorites that I like to use over and over again like Cambria (the font that I’m using now), Palatino, Berylium, Andalus, Garamond, and many others. Most people do too. Font is something that’s used in our everyday lives but most of us don’t pay attention to the particulars of it; its history, readability, or practicality. So when I heard that TLC Tours were hosting a book tour for Simon Garfield’s Just My Type: A Book about Fonts, I knew I should join.  By the end of the first chapter, I wanted to explore my laptop for more fonts. By the end of the second chapter, I was thinking about changing the font of 1330v and started walking around the house looking at the fonts on various posters that I own.

In Just My Type, Garfield doesn’t just write about type and various fonts, but he also takes readers behind the scenes to explore the history of typefaces, their creators, and bring attention to some of the most famous fonts in use. The author also explores how font became something that is everywhere from books to our computers to signs and advertising. To make it easy on readers, every font that is mentioned in the book were shown as they appear so readers could understand Garfield’s point more.

The author does a great job as bringing something like font and text to life in Just My Type, but I’m afraid that this book may have a very specific audience: people who are interested in knowing more about typography and fonts or those who like learning quirky details. I don’t know how many people would be interested in knowing more about the weird life of Eric Gill who’s the creator of the font Gill Sans or the beauty of the ampersand (&), but I’m glad to have learn about them.

If you’re a generally curious reader, a non-fiction junkie, or a lover of typography, I think Just My Type is a book you should add to your reading list. My Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

12 thoughts on “Review: Just My Type by Simon Garfield”

  1. I don’t think I would do very well with this book, as I am not all that interested in type and fonts. It sounds like you were though, and that you had a great time with this one. Glad to see such a glowing review!

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed this one – I love fonts so I’m sure I’ll really enjoy all the historical tidbit behind their creation.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. Have you seen the documentary on helvetica? I had to watch it for one of my classes; it was really fascinating! Who knew there was so much history in font?

  4. I picked this up because book design interests me as an adjunct to my life as a professional editor. I don’t think I’ll read it straight through, it’s the kind of thing I’ll dip into when the mood strikes.

  5. I do find the subject interesting, but having overheard many conversations between people who eat, sleep and breathe fonts, I realize that I’m just not in that club: they talk about it like I talk about books, I guess. But you do make this sound very accessible: I’ll have a look out!

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