It may sound contradictory, but even though I have a great interest in lettering, I was never hugely interested in the history of typography. I love how type and illustration come together in lettering, and basic type theory is interesting, but I never would have sat down in the library to really dive into the history of type in itself.
Until I stumbled over “Just my Type” by Simon Garfield. This book makes the history of typography immensely accessible and interesting. It’s broken up into 22 chapters broken up by 11 “Fontbreaks”, detailing a whole heap of stories from how Comic Sans came about to the involvement between Mr Baskerville and Mrs Eaves to a list of “The Worst Fonts in the World” (Comic Sans isn’t one of them!) and more.
I’ve pulled out my favourite 7 pieces of fun facts, and a few more online references for you to enjoy (because they’re better enjoyed online than in a book where you have to look them up afterwards).
This one needs to get out there, because everyone seems to hate Comic Sans nowadays without even knowing why. The typeface was created by Vincent Connare in 1994 and was solving a specific problem – namely that the standard Times New Roman
didn’t go too well with a dog called “Rover” in Microsoft Bob
. Vincent Connare defends himself
saying that “there was no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children”. And that is in fact why Comic Sans is one of the most hated fonts today – it has been overused in inappropriate ways