A million years ago when I was in high school… OK maybe not quite that long ago…. one of my required classes was print shop. It was a fairly brief two month long introduction to setting type. We had little tiny letters that we had to arrange in wooden trays. Then we rolled a large roller full of ink over the little tiny metal letters and ran it through a press with paper to print a newspaper. I was fascinated by the entire process and that began my love for lettering or typography. My next foray took me into calligraphy but there has always been something about typography that interested me. I love the different fonts available and before printing things out on my computer, I always play with the fonts to find one that best fits my creativity at the moment.
Type Matters! by Jim Williams offers simple tips for every day typography. It’s a handy desktop reference that is loaded with information that will help you make the look of your type as impressive as possible. The book begins with a brief history of type design and the terminology. It discusses type measurement, Roman type, what makes up the anatomy of letterforms, why some type faces look bigger and the different type families. It also shows you large examples of each type family so you can really see what they look like. It also explains what differentiates the different type families – the thickness or thinness of the horizontal and vertical strokes, the presence or absence of serifs, etc. It also shows you examples of each size of type so you can really visualize how large a 22 point type is before you print it out and realize it is not what you wanted.
The author also explains how to set headlines and display type. You’ll learn about the different things you need to consider when creating a headline including shape, hanging punctuation, visual centering, the tittle (or the dot on the i and the j), and ink traps which certain types have to compensate for printing on porous paper. My favorite part of the book is chapter three where you can see a paragraph of each type font so you can judge how it will look when you print it out. You get all sorts of helpful information that way including the ability to see the white space between letters, words, and lines. It even shows you how the hanging letters will impact the line below (like how the p will look on the line directly above a d). Seeing a font type on the screen on your word processor doesn’t give me enough information to judge how it will look on the printed document. At the end of the book is a section on proofreading marks so and a glossary of terms that are both extremely helpful if you are correcting work for someone else.
If you design printed matter or use a variety of fonts on your blog or website, Type Matters is a valuable handbook to have for reference.
Disclosure: I received a product or products in order to write my review. All opinions are mine and mine alone. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.