Anatomy of a Typeface (英語) ペーパーバック – 1990/7/1
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To the layman, all printing types look the same. But for typographers, graphic artists, and others of that lunatic fringe who believe that the letters we look at daily (and take entirely for granted) are of profound importance, the question of how letters are formed, what shape they assume, and how they have evolved remains one of passionate concern.
That exploration of letter forms, and their division and classification into "families" or generic groupings, is the heart of this comprehensive study. Written by an expert who has examined letters all his life, this monumental analysis of letter forms considers a broad and representative range of international typefaces. Lawson explores the vast territory of types, their development and uses, their antecedents and offspring, with precision, insight, and clarity. From Garamond to Bembo to the design and manufacture of sans-serif letters and newspaper types, this is the first full-scale investigation of typefaces since D. B. Updike's classic Printing Types was published in 1922.
What this book does well is present specimens of different typefaces within each family, showing how the letterforms drifted through time, or how they evolved to meet specific demands of paper, ink, and press. The typefaces are arranged in a chronological order, of sorts, but one type face's era may overlap another a large margin. Within each chapter, Lawson explores the development of that typeface, from the calligraphy and earlier letterforms that preceded it up through its contemporary appearance and use. The many examples also show the relationships between members of the same evolutionary tree. A few times, though, the samples could have been bigger, e.g. for pointing out differences in bracketing of the serifs.
This is very much a history of the type designers, printers, and other people in the history of type. It also gives some history of printing and typefounding technology. That motivates discussions of typefaces that were created to solve specific problems of paper, ink, and press, as well as esthetics. Historical information about punchcutting technology and modern type creation tools also explains the changing business relationships between font designers, distributors, and users.
Knowledge of history may help the reader in speccing type appropriate to some printing task, but there's very little here that would help in setting up a page of text. It's a book for another purpose, though. It's about the typefaces that are (or should be, or should not be) important to today's typographers, and why.
As a collection of pieces written over a number of years for Printing Impressions, a trade magazine, it is not a systematic treatment of the subject. However, there are some fascinating stories here as well as useful, practical facts for those who work with type or simply want to understand it.