Thursday, 4:13pm
28 June 2012

Does what it says on the cover (extract)

Type & Typography

By Phil Baines &amp; Andrew Haslam <br>Laurence King Publishing, &pound;19.95<br>

The cover of this book says a lot. The characters and spaces of the title are framed to the space they naturally occupy (a device used in display copy throughout the book) running on to the straightforward blurb, which promises ‘essential grounding for readers of all levels, from students to professionals’. This is placed over a glamorous detail of a brass Ludlow line-casting matrix.

The authors teach at Central Saint Martins in London. Typography provides the backbone to graphic design teaching, both for reasons of its intrinsic logic and the fact that typography is inescapable now that we all have ‘typography machines’ on our desks. The book consists of seven chapters, entitled ‘Definition’, ‘Function’, ‘Form’, ‘Manufacture & Design’, ‘Structure’, ‘Conventions’; the final chapter, ‘. . .’ is just end-matter.

What is notable first, both in ‘Definition’ and later in ‘Function’, is the importance given to language . . .