Friday, August 26, 2011

Simon Garfield

Simon Garfield's new book is Just My Type: A Book about Fonts.

From his Q & A with Thierry Somers for the blog of 200% Magazine:

200%: In the chapter “What is it about the Swiss” you write about the New Yorker Cyrus Highsmith who tried to “spend a day without Helvetica”. This was quite challenging as the typeface is ubiquitously present in our lives. Whenever Highsmith saw something spelled out in Helvetica he averted his eyes. He wouldn’t take any Helvetica-signed Transport or buy any Helvetica branded products.

After you had written this book, when you walk in the street, do you look at signs of shop windows and try to identify the typeface?

Simon Garfield: Sadly, yes. It’s a disease called Typomania – wherever I go, I see lettering and signs and advertising in a new way, looking behind the message, at the clothing of what’s being said. I might not enjoy a film so much if I can’t recognise the font of the opening credits. So I loved “The Social Network”: Futura – that was easy.

200%: Your background is not design journalism or critiquing, which may be the reason that your book on typefaces and fonts is very light-hearted, amusing and engaging, whereas most books on typefaces are very serious, even earnest. Do you consider it turned out to be advantageous that you don’t have such a background and could approach the subject more as an outsider?

Simon Garfield: Definitely. The world of type designs and typography, like any important and creative world, is full of little debates and spats and wars, sometimes based on elitism, most often based on heartfelt passion. So it helped that...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue