Friday, 17 February 2017

Just your type

The six point numbers and letters used on the grid printed in pink on white paper and only readble in daylight.

A rather brief but interesting survey of all those characters that make up a type font after the twenty-six upper and lower case letters and numbers. Predictably so many of them originated in the mists of time but they mostly kept a reasonably constant shape but interestingly it's only since the arrival of the pc that the design of some of them have become meaningless. The copyright (c inside a circle) in the Screenex Regular typeface could probably be ignored legally as a copyright sign or the section mark (two vertically interlocking Ss) in ABF Petit Regular is more an abstract shape.

Each character starts on a spread with the left-hand page giving a brief historical summery and the right-hand page has six examples in various fonts, nicely these examples go from the normally acceptable to extreme versions, like the two I mentioned above. A few characters run over to another spread with twelve typeface examples.

I've given the book three stars because of the rather amateurish production. Clearly it was a mistake to use Dayglow pink to print the example and name of each character on the left-hand pages. Outside of daylight these are unreadble. Even worse are the grids on the right-hand pages with the different typeface examples. The key for the grid and list below to identify the types are in six point and in pink ink on the book's white paper. So, a book about type that is meant to communicate lacks the clarity to do so.

A better book though admittedly a rather exhaustive study (it has seventy pages of Notes) is Keith Houston's Shady characters published in 2013.

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