Just My Type

by Wojciech Adam Koszek   ⋅   May 18, 2015   ⋅   Menlo Park, CA

Very nice and compact introduction to typography.

We’re all surrounded by text. Be it an electronic version or a good and old-school paper hardcover book, the thing that makes books readable are fonts.

I don’t exactly remember how I start to pay attention to how letters in books are shaped, but it was pretty early on. My English teacher in a 2nd grade of primary school exposed me to British and American English books, and I’ve noticed significant different in letter shapes, as their block letters were not alike script taught in Polish school.

Just My Type is a little nifty book which introduced the reader to not only the meaning and role of fonts, but also their heritage and the story of their creation.

Typography stars such as Matthew Carter were mentioned extensively. First time I learned about Carter from Matthew’s Butterick’s Practical Typography website, and “Just My Type” fed me with more details.

Thing I’m not sure about is how to train your sensitivity, so that no only you can connect 2 typefaces according to the contrast and how well they fit together, but also what certain typefaces convey. While everybody knows “Futura” font is used for bold statements and “Comic Sans” for goofy text used by people not exposed to typography, I feel like further training in the typographical skill is necessary to understand which font is serious or distinguished.

One of the mistakes which you may want to stay away from is getting an audiobook version of this title. I feel like I haven’t fully experienced the real value of the content, since typography by definition requires a two-dimensional medium and a bit more visual feedback than air waves.

Interesting and inspiring is also a realization that just like engineers can notice, appreciate or criticize the construction of physical things, software and other creations, typographers do notice every single detail about fonts. Thus I smiled when an anecdote of Carter being able to spot fonts inappropriately suited to things which they were used for.

“Ben and Jerry”

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About the author: I'm Wojciech Adam Koszek. I like software, business and design. Poland native. In Bay Area since 2010.   More about me