[texhax] Some comments on "Fifty Typefaces That Changed the World"

Jeff Barnett jbbrus at comcast.net
Tue Jul 15 10:38:42 CEST 2014

I believe the subject book written by John L. Walters was recommended to 
us by someone on this mail list. I ordered that book recently and wish 
to pass on a few comments to others who might still have it on their 
Amazon.com wish list. The book shows examples of and discusses 50 
typefaces in chronological order: first is Blackletter c. 1455 and last 
is Ubuntu 2011. So we go from the birth of the printing process into the 
digital age. Each of the fifty occupies exactly two facing pages: left 
is descriptive text and right is examples, often photographs in color. 
The book seems of good quality - thick paper, good color, with a clean, 
neat and ultra modern look.

I'm not an expert in this field so I can't evaluate most of the 
selections nor evaluated the impact of various typeface designs on 
various disciplines such as publishing and advertising. However, in the 
digital age I am aware of the impact of TeX, LaTeX. and Meta Font. None 
of these mechanisms are mentioned but I'm quite sure that the 
incorporation of font definition and generation mechanisms within the 
TeX family has had vast impact on the way the publishing world works. I 
feel that, e.g., Computer Modern has had a hell of a lot more influence 
than Zapf Dingbats. So if you are looking to see how our pet hobby horse 
fits into the grand scheme of things, this book isn't for you. On the 
other hand, if you want to look at type as art, this is a good buy.

If some of you have a different or more knowledgeable slant on this 
topic, please feel free to express your opinion.

The book and further description can be found on the US Amazon web site 

Jeff Barnett

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