Book review: “The Geometry Of Type” by Stephen Coles

When you hold a book titled “The Geometry Of Type,” you anticipate an amalgamation of type and design, and Stephen Coles, in collaboration with Erik Spiekermann’s enlightening forward, certainly delivers. I was immediately struck by its gorgeous design, which makes it not only easy to navigate but also aesthetically pleasing.

One of the striking features of this book is its in-depth exploration of a limited number of popular fonts. It might seem like a bold move to dive deep into only a few typefaces, but the rich insights offered make it clear that this was the right decision. This isn’t a surface-level skim; it’s a profound exploration into the heart of type design.

design as art cover

Aesthetically, “The Geometry Of Type” is a triumph. Every page showcases the kind of meticulous design you’d expect from a book celebrating type. The layouts are intuitive, and the visuals amplify the text’s message, creating a seamless experience for readers.

Spiekermann’s forward acts as the perfect appetiser, setting the tone for the feast that follows. He deftly communicates the personalities behind each typeface, inviting readers to appreciate the nuances and emotions that different fonts evoke.

For those, like me, who have ventured into the world of typography before, the contrast between this book and others is noticeable. Take, for instance, “A History Of Type.” While undoubtedly informative, it leans towards being a tad dry and requires a more committed reading. In contrast, “The Geometry Of Type” feels like a refreshing sip of water, offering deep insights without overwhelming its audience.

design as art cover

The book’s design, while stunning, serves a practical purpose. “The Geometry Of Type” could easily find a home on the coffee table of every young designer, offering a source of inspiration and a trove of knowledge that can be accessed on a whim. Imagine having a coffee break and diving into a section that teaches you a new aspect of type anatomy – that’s the kind of book this is.

Speaking of anatomy, the broad “Anatomy Of Type” section is commendable. Even for someone who’s already familiar with type design, this segment provides new perspectives and a deeper understanding of the subject.

But who is this book really for? Beyond designers and those deeply invested in the world of typography, it serves as an in-depth guide for font-spotters and everyday users. It elevates the appreciation of fonts and letters, highlighting the intricate details that often go unnoticed.

However, nothing is without its flaws. My one minor gripe would be its format. While its current design as a coffee table book is undoubtedly charming, there’s potential for it to be expanded into a comprehensive reference book – a bible for those passionate about typography.

Conclusion

In conclusion, “The Geometry Of Type” has deepened my appreciation for the intricacies of font design. It serves as a testament to the art behind the letters we see and use daily. For anyone seeking both a visual treat and a well of knowledge on type design, this book is a must-have. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or merely someone who admires good design, Stephen Coles offers a fresh perspective on the world of type that shouldn’t be missed.

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