Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Font and typeface reference books

We have long admired German publisher Taschen's ability to produce lavish books on art, design and popular culture at modest prices, no doubt a result of good marketing and distribution.

Another pair of books in our office library is their two-volume Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles which together provide a great resource reference for the graphic designer, particularly when something authentically old-looking is wanted. The first volume covers from 1628 to 1900 and the second volume from 1900 up to 1938. Each is a big format 360 pages and they don't end there; you get a card with a code to an on-line downloadable library.

To quote Taschen's blurb: "...a novel overview of typeface design, exploring the most beautiful and remarkable examples of font catalogs from the history of publishing, with a special emphasis on the period from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, when color catalogs were at their height. Taken from a Dutch collection, this exuberant selection traverses the evolution of the printed letter in all its various incarnations via exquisitely designed catalogs displaying not only type specimens in roman, italic, bold, semi-bold, narrow, and broad, but also characters, borders, ornaments, initial letters and decorations as well as often spectacular examples of the use of the letters. The Victorian fonts, sumptuous and sometimes unbelievably outrageous, are accorded a prominent place in this book. In addition to lead letters, examples from lithography and letters by window-dressers, inscription carvers, and calligraphers are also displayed and described."

1 comment:

Kathryn McDwell said...

Incredible! Once in a while, we can see websites that incorporate these stylistic fonts and typefaces. Victorian-inspired websites, Gothic-themed websites, and other art-heavy ones are the usual recipients of these eloquent typography and calligraphy. This book is handy for this type of graphic styles.