Geoffrey Dowding

rafael_lueder's picture

Hello typophiles,

Does someone have any information on Geoffrey Dowding besides the title of his now out of print book? I´ve googled for his name but nothing interesting returned besides an article on TypoGraphic 62 called "The Future for the Typographer". Any info on his biography? When was his book (Finer Points in the Spacing & Arrangement of Type) originally written? This guy is a total mystery to me...

KenBessie's picture

I have the 1995 reprint of his book. Published by Hartley & Marks Publishers, Vancouver. There is no biographic info other than this paragraph on the back cover:

During his long typographic career, Geoffrey Dowding was typographer to a number of British publishers and agencies. He also served as an instructor in typographic design at the London College of Printing for over twenty years.

Originally published in 1954 by Wace & Company, London. The 1995 reprint is of the 1966 edition with a dated (September 1966) Preface by Dowding.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your research.

ChuckGroth's picture

He also wrote an Introduction to the History of Printing Types, didn't he?
(I have no idea why I remember this)

charles ellertson's picture

He had another book, Factors in the Choices of Typefaces London, Wace, 1957.

RE Finer Points . . .,The Hartley & Marks edition has Dowding's words, but the Wace edition showed what he meant by those words.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Rafael, maybe some of the items in this Amazon search will answer some of your questions about original publication dates.

William Berkson's picture

>the Wace edition showed what he meant by those words

Charles, do you think the word spacing in that edition is good? I bought a used copy. It is readable, but it looks a bit too pinched to me.

charles ellertson's picture

Bill, I agree with you. So many people quote Dowding without a notion of what he had in mind. If you accept that all book composition involves compromises, what one can say about Dowding is that he is willing to make any compromise -- including legibility -- to avoid a lose line.

In practice, no modern editor would accept many lines in the Wace edition, and a some lines (in my opinion) no typographer should accept. I still remember the first time I read the book -- Rich Hendel had lent me his copy & about 30 pages in I got so perturbed I called him & said something like "this is nonsense." Rich, ever the gentleman, just laughed & said "I though you'd like to read it."

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