Just My Type: A book about fonts. – Simon Garfield.
If you ever get confused with the difference between a font and a typeface, or simply wondered about the origins of type, this book is a good entry level into the field. Just My Type is great because it’s accessible, no previous knowledge is needed because Garfield writes in a conversational manner, with minimal technical info. However, any confusion is quickly remedied with diagrams and simple explanations. I found the best thing about the book is when Garfield is describing a typeface, the word is set in that font, so you can clearly envision what he is talking about without having to stop and google it.
Throughout the book there are fascinating case studies from Letraset to the complex design of street signs (such as choosing the appropriate green and recognising lower case is easier to read when driving quickly past a sign.) There are also regular ‘font breaks’ which Garfield dedicates to the history of a particular typeface and its creator- really gives you a new found appreciation for a font (and sometimes a feeling of disgust! learning that Eric Gill dabbled in incestuous & man-joins-with-dog behaviour means I can never look at Gill Sans the same again!)
This book is excellent for designers and type enthusiasts because learning about the history of a font really helps in selecting a suitable type t for a project; whether it be based on the era it was created or the connotations associated with it. Overall I think this is a nice book for anyone interested in a bit of general type history, and it also solved alot of type queries for me, resulting in alot of “ooh that’s what font that is!” which i have to say, is largely satisfying.