Book Review: The Geometry of Type

There are many things I like about Stephen Coles’ recent book; the bright, clean design and the accessible structure allowing you to dip in and out; but most of all, it’s the lack of fluff or filler. The content has been carefully honed to focus on the important details, which is in fact what the book is all about: the details of each typeface.

In highlighting and comparing the features that give each typeface its character, anyone exploring this subject can begin to make informed choices between similar typeface options.

The pithy descriptions describe each typeface’s origin and advise what makes each appropriate for certain scenarios and where it might fail. These are occasionally laced with a subtle humour that keeps the tone of the book warm.

The great balance of written and visual explanation means the book works well as a quick reference but has a seductive way of drawing you in to read more and examine further.

The 100 “essential” typefaces chosen covers a decent range and they have been categorised in the most straight-forward way. Historically it stretches from Gill Sans 1928-32) right up to Heron Serif (2012), but also acknowledges original creation dates for revivals such as Bembo (1495).

I’ve already found it useful in my work and I know I’ll enjoy repeatedly picking it up in the future to compare other typefaces in my collection and those I’ve spotted in the wild.

Well worth picking up a copy: The Anatomy of Type