Typophile Books: Type Specimens



ABC's of Type: A Guide to Contemporary Typefaces

by Allan Haley
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Pubns; (July 1990)
Hardcover: 128 pages
ASIN: 0823000532
Price: Used & New starting at $14.50  Buy it!

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Afrikan Alphabets

by Saki Mafundikwa
Publisher: Mark Batty Publisher; (September 2003)
Paperback: 184 pages
ISBN: 0972424067
Price: $31.50  Buy It!

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Alphabets to Order: The Literature of
Nineteenth-Century Typefounders' Specimens

by Alastair Johnston
Publisher: Oak Knoll Books; (October 2000)
Paperback: 220 pages
ISBN: 1584560096
Price: $39.25  Buy It!

Reviewed by Poltroon:
This book started out to show how Dadaism and concrete poetry were foreshadowed in the anonymous nonsense texts of type specimen books in the nineteenth century and grew into a much larger cultural study of the reading habits, politics and amusements of that era. The type specimens (many of which are illustrated) are a springboard to a wider discussion of many topics from hermits to the alcoholism of printers. Most of the fun occurs in the footnotes (there is even a fake footnote that can be deciphered as a reference to PALE FIRE by Nabokov). There are checklists of rare specimens in public & private collections in Britiain & the US which can be consulted & very useful family trees showing how the holdings of various typefounders passed from hand to hand. In addition new light is shed on the earliest American wood types cut for display in the 1830s as well as some interesting stuff on the graphic appeal of large type.

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American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century

by Mac McGrew
Publisher: Oak Knoll Books; 2nd edition (June 1994)
Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN: 0938768395
Price: $49.95  Buy It!

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American Wood Type, 1828-1900:
Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types
and Comments on Related Trades of the Period

by Rob Roy Kelly
Publisher: DaCapo Press; (June 1977)
Paperback: 350 pages
ASIN: 0306800594
Price: Out of print   Buy It!

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Deco Type: Stylish Alphabets of the '20s & '30s

by Stephen Heller, Louise Fili
Publisher: Chronicle Books; (June 1997)
Paperback: 132 pages
ISBN: 0811811352
Price: $8.95  Buy It!

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Encyclopaedia of Typefaces

by W. Pincus Jaspert, W. Turner Berry, A. F. Johnson
Publisher: Seven Dials; (October 2001)
Hardcover: 520 pages
ISBN: 1841881392
Price: $20.97  Buy It!

Reviewed by José Espejo:
Not a bad book but a bit dated now. Its 50 years old and although recently updated, is missing some major typefaces such as Frutiger and only has limited specimens of fonts like DIN. Not very well laid out either but it does contain most of the major fonts with a paragraph on the provencance and history of each font. All in all a useful reference.

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FontBook [Digital Typeface Compendium]

by Mai Linh Thi Truong, Jürgen Siebert, Erik Spiekermann
Publisher: FSI FontShop International; (June 1, 1998)
Hardcover: 1500 pages
ISBN: 3930023024
Price: $109.00  Buy It!

Reviewed by Joe Pemberton:
This six pound volume is the most comprehensive typeface reference book ever compiled - worthy of its self proclaimed 'compendium' status. It is also surprisingly usable. Each typeface entry provides info about its history, the designers and platforms for which the face is available as well as a "see also" feature that allows you to find similar faces.

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Font Bureau Type Specimens, Third Edition

Publisher: The Font Bureau Inc.; (2001)
Hardcover: 224 pages
Price: $20.00  Buy It!

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Gudrun Zapf Von Hesse

by Hans Adolf Halbey
Publisher: Mark Batty Publisher; (January 2002)
Hardcover: 224 pages
ISBN: 0971568707
Price: $75.00  Buy It!

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Indie Fonts

by Richard Kegler (Editor), James Grieshaber (Editor), Tamye Riggs
Publisher: P22 Inc., Book and CD-ROM edition (September 27, 2002)
Hardcover: 408 pages
ISBN: 0963108220
Price: $39.95  Buy It!

Reviewed by Jared Benson:
A compendium of digital type from independent foundries. From Letterror's shaded typeface Federal to pixelated works by Test Pilot Collective, the book is replete with beautiful spreads in red and black ink, with hundreds of samples of type from independent type foundries all over the globe.

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Indie Fonts 2

Publisher: P-Type Publications, Book and CD-ROM edition (June 2003)
Hardcover: 408 pages
ISBN: 0963108239
Price: $39.95  Buy It!

Reviewed by Joe Pemberton:
This follow-up to the successful Indie Fonts delivers a great specimen reference for independent foundries such as Atomic Media, MvB Fonts, Parkinson Type Design, Mark Simonson Studio, Storm Type Foundry, Terminal Design, Underware, You Work for Them and a handful of others.

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Language Culture Type:
International Type Design in the Age of Unicode

by John D. Berry (Editor)
Publisher: Graphis Pr; (November 11, 2002)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN: 1932026010
Price: $42.00  Buy It!

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Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering:
A Source Book of the Best Letter Forms
of Past and Present for Sign Painters,
Graphic Artists, Commercial Artists

by Jan Tschichold
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company; (April 1995)
Paperback: 236 pages
ISBN: 0393701972
Price: $24.50  Buy It!

Reviewed by David Kadavy:
I would argue that this book is an "essential." A little known treasure of Tschichold writing when compared to "A New Typography," but every bit as valuable. Tschichold will illuminate you with detailed rationale behind his preferences for various type specimens. He also reveals some of his thoughts on proportions that are a great supplement to Bringhurst's thoughts on the same in "The Elements of Typographic Style." I owe a huge deal of my understanding of typography to this book.

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Type: Hot Designers Make Cool Fonts

by Allan Haley
Publisher: Rockport Publishers; (December 1998)
Hardcover: 144 pages
ISBN: 1564963179
Price: $29.95  Buy It!

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Type Style Mixer

by Wiebke Holjes

Publisher: Laurence King Pub; Spiral edition (March 2003)
Hardcover: 144 pages
ISBN: 1856692558
Price: $13.97  Buy It!

Reviewed by Joa Oliveira:
Each typeface shown provides some information about its history, which makes it a little bit more interesting. Obviously the mixing and matching typefaces results can be very interesting and/or very bad.

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Typographic Specimens: The Great Typefaces

by Philip Meggs (Author), Rob Carter (Author)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; (December 1, 1993)
Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN: 0471284297
Price: $31.47  Buy It!

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Typography: An Encyclopedic Survey
of Type Design and Techniques
Throughout History

by Friedrich Friedl (Editor), Nicolau Ott (Editor), Bernard Stein (Editor)
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Pub; (July 1998)
Hardcover: 592 pages
ISBN: 1579120237
Price: $39.98  Buy It!

Reviewed by Jean François Porchez:
Big book (mainly because it is published in German/French/English on same page), low price but, too much missing people and things to be a really good one.
     I bought it one day in 1999, opened it for half an hour, got hungry because I never found the people I looked for, and never re openned it.
     Perhaps better for typography in general than type design in particular.

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Typology: Type Design from the
Victorian Era to the Digital Age

by Steven Heller, Louise Fili
Publisher: Chronicle Books; (July 1999)
Paperback: 196 pages
ISBN: 0811823083
Price: $20.97  Buy It!

Reviewed by Joe Pemberton:
What this book lacks in sophistication it makes up for in ambition. Few type books cover this full range of periods in a single volume and the material itself does provide a great visual reference if you're looking for inspiration.
     While this book is visually rich and the samples are excellent, it is light on commentary or historical information. This volume is larger than other Chronicle design books but it doesn't take advantage of the added size. Many of the images are small and overly crowded. Overall, though, the price reflects the quality and I enjoy it as part of my library.

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