Graphic Novel Review: ABC of Typography

The ABC of Typography

The ABC of Typography - Credit: Archant

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Did you know that changes in the direction we write resulted in the letters B, E and P being permanently flipped by Greek scribes?

Or that the carving at the bottom of a Roman column resulted in a font with a class and majesty that resulted in it being used on countless posters for Hollywood blockbusters?

Have you ever wondered why the "&" symbol represents "and"?

Would it surprise you to know that metal letters used in the earliest form of printing press were stored in a type case divided into upper-case on the higher shelves with lower-case letters below them?


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This fascinating book charts the origins of humanity's written language through 3,500 years, including the development of the alphabet through printing and publishing, and the origins of fonts such as Gothic, Garamond, Futura and Times New Roman.

Find out how modern writing survived during the Dark Ages, the laborious process behind printing the Guttenberg Bible, and why different publications choose particular fonts for their logos. Meet the creators of history's most famous fonts, including Eric Gill, the man who gave the London Underground its graphic identity, and how Tobias Frere-Jones preserved the distinctive signage of Manhattan in his Gotham typeface.

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Author David Rault, himself a graphic designer, has brought together a team of 12 European artists of various styles to reflect the different periods, including Seyhan Argun, Francois Ayroles, Hervé Bourhis, Olivier Deloye, Delphine Panique and Jake Raynal, to create the first-ever graphic history of Latin type.

A remarkable study of the impact of typography on society, through wars, revolutions and cultural epochs, offering candid explanations as to why particular fonts resonate in a certain way. Who would have thought letters could be so interesting?

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