If you’re anything like me, you have a couple of books going at the same time. One in the bedroom, one at work, maybe one in the car. For the last couple of months, on lunch breaks and long waits in fast food drive-thus, my “car book” has been Just My Type by Simon Garfield.
As someone who uses type all day (I make all of Eisenhower’s posters, flyers, and other handouts) I found the book pretty exciting. It isn’t an instructional manual on how to use fonts. It’s really a collection of anecdotes from the history of print. From the Gutenberg Press through to iPad tablets. Along the way, gossippy tidbits from the lives of designers pop up. The chapter on Arts & Crafts sculptor, type designer, and undeniable creep Eric Gill had me running to Wikipedia to get the full story alluded to by Garfield.
All in all, if you’re looking for a book to help you make a perfect layout, or find a pair of complementary fonts, this probably isn’t the book for you. For that you might try Ellen Lupton’s Thinking with Type. But for human stories and a little bit of history, Just My Type is a great car read.