March 01, 2012

Just my type

Two clever video clips for Simon Garfield's book on the allure of fonts
How do you feel about getting to the end of a book and finding a stagy sort of note on the last page about what font the book you just read was set in? Although the tempation is there to be snide about the "toff" aspects of these About the type notes -- for one, they only appear in certain books (besides two W.G. Sebald novels which upon finishing last year I was advised were set in Perpetua, a quick look through some of my shelves to find a few other examples provided only two: Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking and a new translation of The song of songs, both set in Bodoni), all in all, I find this presumption on the part of the publisher of the reader's total love affair with the book endearing. In the end, I am won over by the pure bookishness, in all its quirky and somewhat stodgy particularity, of the thing.

For anyone who hasn't come across one yet, the note from the W.G. Sebald books will give you a good idea what I'm talking about:

About the type

This book was set in Perpetua, a typeface designed by the English artist Eric Gill and cut by the Monotype corporation between 1928 and 1930. Perpetua is a contemporary face of original design, without any direct historical antecedents. The shapes of the roman letters are derived from the techniques of stonecutting. The larger display sizes are extremely elegant and form a most distinguished series of inscriptional letters.

I ask you, how could anyone read this and not think that the Perpetua font truly is "W.G. Sebald's type"? And Bodoni, elegied for its crisp contrast between thicks and thins, is it not truly "Joan Didion's type?"

If, like me, you have a soft spot for fonts (and if you don't - who are you?), watch these two clever video clips from Penguin Books, inspired by Simon Garfield's book Just my type, "a hugely entertaining and revealing guide to the history of type that asks, What does your favorite font say about you?" according to Penguin. I've ordered the book in, not because I want to dig into this aspect (having been a bit put off by seeing one of my favourites, Garamond, described on as a family of “usable typefaces with a slight air of conscious refinement”) (I wouldn't have minded a "conscious air of slight refinement"), but because I might just learn the answer to a question which has always bothered me, and which I gleefully see one of the people in the video asking as well:

What is the point of wingdings?

The fonts star in the first clip, in the second it's people unashamedly liking Garamond and even, gulp, Comic sans!

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 05:00


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