Books about individual typefaces

londontype's picture

I know of two books devoted to individual typefaces - Justin Howes' "Johnston's Underground Type" and Lars Muller's "Helvetica - Homage to a Typeface". Are there others? I'm talking about real books that treat the design, designer, context and use of the face - not just specimen books.

Miss Tiffany's picture

The specimen for Garamond Premier Pro could count as a book. However, I don't think you can purchase it.

hrant's picture

I own a great one for Octavian.
Then there's Connare's booklet for Magpie.


crossgrove's picture

Read Naked from Underware. You can purchase it.

thierry blancpain's picture

crossgrove already posted it..

there's "Read Naked" from underware, too. it is a specimen book, but the printing is absolutely lovely. you can take the book into the sauna. there are even some printed pages that only show up in the sauna (or in a steamy enviroment, i held it over cooking water and it worked), and then you can dry it again.

raph's picture

"The Centaur Types", by Bruce Rogers. Available both in 1949 hardcover by October House and 1996 Purdue University Press facsimile.

londontype's picture

How many typefaces are really worthy of book-length treatment? Nominations?

Raph - there's a 1st edition of "The Centaur Types" on for $104.95.

paul d hunt's picture

Goudy's Typologia covers Californian in depth, but is not soely about the typeface.

John Hudson's picture

John Dreyfus' Italic Quartet. A record of the collaboration between Harry Kessler, Edward Johnston, Emery Walker and Edward Prince in making the Cranach Press italic.

Mark Simonson's picture

"On Stone" by Sumner Stone, about his eponymous font family. It comes off a bit self-promotional, though.

hrant's picture

> Nominations?

The main one: Legato.


BTW, anybody wanting to read Drefus's fascinating "Italic Quartet" but intimidated by the price tag can instead get himself a copy of the same author's "Into Print" (with showing many copies below $50) which contains that piece as well as tons of other interesting articles as well.


David Jonathan Ross's picture

This probably isn't exactly what you're looking for, but I recently picked up a book at the library called "Metro Letters, A Typeface for the Twin Cities" that has a handful of typefaces on one theme (namely, Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota). It includes interviews with the various designers invited, their backgrounds, and a lot about the process involved.

Most of the book is spent looking at this font: (check out the specimen)

My favorite quotation: "Hopefully, no city can be reduced to a single typeface--except Monaco!" --Gilles Gavillet

Maxim Zhukov's picture

What about Now read this: the Microsoft ClearType font collection by John Berry (Redmond: Microsoft, 2004)? This is indeed 'a real book that treats the design, designer[s], context and use of the face[s] - not just specimen book'.

> The specimen for Garamond Premier Pro could count as a book. However, I don’t think you can purchase it.

The same is true for the earlier Adobe booklets showing off and telling the stories of its other Originals (e.g., Minion, Jenson, et al.)

hrant's picture

Oh yeah, Fedra has quite a nice booklet too.


Kon's picture

Jan van Krimpen : Lutetia &
Zapf : Hunt Roman, The Birth of a Type

NigellaL's picture

I think i saw a book on Ross Mills's Plantagenet once at one of my designer friends' offices. Or am I thinking of something else? Does anybody know where to buy this font? some weird version of it came free on my Mac, but i can't find the italic anywhere!


NigellaL's picture

thanks so much! great stuff - love the swashes, especially the E. It makes me wish i had an E in my name! his other stuff is quite nice as well. is this fun ligature from 1570 Garamond standard in any other fonts?

John Hudson's picture

Nigella, there is no book on Plantagenet, but there is a very nice limited edition specimen, designed by the brilliant Brian Morgan. If you contact Ross (ross[at]tiro[dot]ca) you can find out more information. The Plantagenet family is one of those designs that seems to be under perpertual development, but you can enquire about licensing the current state.

The version of Plantagenet that comes with Max OS X is a subset that supports the Cherokee writing system. There is no italic for this subset.

For more information see

roballoo's picture

Bembo's Zoo by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. It's all about one typeface even if it is a children's ABC book, It does have a brief paragraph at the end that describe Bembo's history and creators.

Hey, you can't start too early. As it says in Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Si_Daniels's picture

How about that Fiona Ross book on Bengali?

Cheers, Si

hrant's picture

Roballo: good one.

Simon: that's really about a writing system though.


John Hudson's picture

that’s really about a writing system though.

Specifically, about the typographic representation of that writing system (i.e. there is very little material in it about the writing system itself or about the manuscript tradition). Although this book isn't about a single typeface, the whole thing can be read as a background to the development of the Linotype Bengali, which concludes the book.

wolfgang_homola's picture

James Mosley et al: Le Roman du Roi. La typographie au service de l'tat

wolfgang_homola's picture

James Mosley et al: Le Roman du Roi. La typographie au service de l’ Etat

(oops. I lost the E)

James Grieshaber's picture

Don't for get about Anatomy of a Typeface by Alexander Lawson. I contains 24 chapters that are devoted to a specific typeface and 6 more chapters devoted to more general type styles.

And American Proprietary Typefaces edited by David Pankow. This one contains 10 chapters each written by a different author.

And, of course, there is D.B. Updite's Printing Types.

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