Book review: Just My Type

Just My Type, written by Simon Garfield published September 2011. When you first see this book the sleeve is enough to make you pick it up. Targeted at the novice level, the book draws the reader into the world of type working through its history and exploring its meaning and role in history.

Just My Type book cover

A particular feature of the book is the regular assessment of some of the most commonly used.. and misused fonts. Of particular interest being the fonts Gill Sans (p.48) and Comic Sans. Though the book does not dissect fonts in the same was as some of the more traditional books, it does lead the reader to contemplate their font of choice and maybe even to appreciate and understand why or what different fonts mean what they do.

Just for those who really want to see a bit more on the anatomy of font you could start with the graphic below.

From my perspective I feel that typography plays a significant role in the world of cartography and data visualisation for a number of reasons. Firstly as a cartographer you are working with a range of different font sizes, purposes and colours. Through a knowledge of type one is able to engineer these fonts to work in harmony and to make the information as clear and useful as possible. In addition through the use of appropriate font style the cartographer can influence the perceived purpose of the map. An elegant gothic font may promote an historical or artistic map whereas a clean sans serif may suggest a purposeful information map.

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