Review: Just My Type: A Book about Fonts

Just My Type Book CoverMy Rating: 3/5

About the Book
Just My Type: A Book about Fonts is a book written for a general audiences with little previous knowledge of the field of typography. Garfield informs audiences about the histories, anecdotes, and processes for creating and using different fonts. Just My Type is a lighthearted look into the life and effects of typography in the world around us.

Author: Simon Garfield
Publisher: Gotham Books
Cost: about $10 on Amazon
ISBN: 978-1592406524

What I Liked
Just My Type is a fun book. Garfield does a great job telling stories about fonts, addressing some of the more fascinating (and sometimes scandalous) histories behind fonts. We learn about why fonts are named the way they are, what the politics behind their creation and use were and continue to be, and a general sense of how typography shapes the world of design. I particularly liked Chapter 21, which provides a list of the worst fonts in the world, which provides humorous insight into why we shouldn’t use certain fonts.

What I Didn’t Like
The book, after about 100 pages, gets incredibly redundant. Garfield researched the book well and there are plenty of juicy details about typography that will delight most any reader, but I believe that even for the true typeface aficionado, this book will become dull after a while. Part of the problem is that designers–those who deal daily with typography–will likely find the information too basic, yet those with no design knowledge will likely be satisfied with just a few chapters of the information. Many readers may find themselves happier watching the documentary Helvetica, which isn’t as thorough, but is certainly just as fascinating and much quicker to get through. Just My Type goes into far more detail about far more fonts, but much of the stories and uses of the fonts becomes lost in similarity of each.