The Complete Manual of Typography

by George M. Engel

This is an initial cap letter At first look, I fell in love with James Felicis' book on setting type. I thought this would be a snap to review until I started to sketch out my review. But where to start?

To begin with, I might have to explain what type is and where it started. No, forget about that. Well, how about starting with Gutenberg and movable type? Nope, still too long. Maybe trying to explain what a font is all about? Kerning? Monospaced versus proportional? Good grief, George, you'd be taking up a whole twelve pages of the newsletter just on the basics alone.

All of a sudden, this review has taken on a life of its own. There's no way I can do it, I thought.

This is a sample of Courier.

[Ed Note: since this is a web page, and not George's original printed newsletter, which was in Times, you are probably actually seeing Verdana as the font for the article. The Courier and Garamond shown here are actually graphics to illustrate the point. Fact of the matter is, on the web; you, the user, can read in any font you wish, through your browser's set-up configuration.]

The first couple of paragraphs above were using Times, a 1930's font face used a lot today. Publishers used it in London because it saved them money. It has narrow characters that fit well in the Narrow columns of the day in their newspapers. Not my preference, but used because people on Macs and other Systems can use it back and forth with little trouble.

My most used font is Garamond Premiere Pro, which is an Open Type Font by Adobe which looks identical on all Systems. I'll still use Times for this article though, since some of you readers had problems reading my Garamond typeface with your Adobe Reader. As an example, try reading this next Garamond Pro:

Garamond Premiere Pro Typeface

Back to the Times font face. To be simple about this book, it explains that if you want people to read something, make it easy to read and make it beautiful on the eyes, not an ugly and hard thing.

The proliferation of word processors and spellcheckers and printers have made robots of us all. Beautiful letter-writing and hand scripts are a thing of the past. How many of you are good spellers today and can write a two page letter without a spell-checker? Well, maybe us old-timers, but kids today are lost without a spellchecker.

If you have trouble distinguishing between Bembo, Goudy Oldstyle, Sabon, New Baskerville, Century, Caslon Adobe Garamond and Galliard, join the 99% of American readers who'll scratch their heads with these typeface names. But if they're reading a book set in any of these conservative, but not flashy typefaces, they'll find it an easy reading book.

coverThe Complete Manual of Typography Look in the first few pages of a book to see what typeface it's set in. Try it a couple of times and see if there's a pattern.There must be a reason that book publishers use different font faces in their books.

The Complete Manual of Typography
      by James Felici

If nothing else, this book will make interesting reading for people who love to read books and think about the written word. For me, I wouldn't be without it, no matter the cost. This is one of my better reference books, and I Love Type. Check it out for value at Amazon; you might find a real deal!

George Engel Until next time ... Good Day!

George Engel The Naked Serviceman

About the author: George Engel has been a computer guru probably longer than he will admit -- as a computer expert, he authored The Naked Serviceman book, about his journey through the history of Apple's Macintosh as owner/founder of an authorized Apple Service Center. He owned one of the first Apple II computers as well as one of the first Macintosh 128s. He hangs out with the Lakeland User Group in sunny Florida.


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