Sunday, 12 January 2020

Just your type from Aftershock to Zerbydoo not forgetting ITC Out of the fridge

Unless you are involved with type professionally most people just take in the meaning of the words and ignore the face the message is set in and it's only until the obvious differences between, say, Caslon and Univers are actually pointed out that capital and lower-case letters probably all look the same to everybody. Peter Dawson's chunky and fascinating book has eighteen hundred faces to prove that each type is in fact different, though because sans faces have fewer design options to set them apart some of them do look incredibly similar. Unless you know what to look for Bauer Folio could easily be mistaken for Haas Helvetica (the cap Q is in instant giveaway).

The book's format allows each type to have the same display. The four chapters: Serif; Sans serif; Display; Script cover the eighteen hundred types with the alphabet in caps, lower case, numerals and some punctuation (plus @, #, &) all set in twenty point with a short caption describing the face's characteristics. A really useful addition for each entry is the name of the foundry who holds it, so if you wanted to use a particular type in a job this makes it easy to get more information via the net.

What I particularly liked about the book were lots of single pages and spreads devoted to individual types with printed examples of their use. There are also seventeen spreads of foundry profiles and eight designer profiles. The back pages have a thirty page index of types, designers and foundries. It's worth pointing out that frequently the index lists the correct name of a type so Avant Garde is found under ITC Avant Garde.

The author has compiled an impressive book of alphabets that has a practical use for any professional typographer but the excellent design and print makes it a joy to look through.



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