BOOK FESTIVAL – Simon Garfield, Just My Type

Simon Garfield

In his latest book ‘Just My Type’, Simon Garfiled entertains the reader with over 200 stories associated with type and selected fonts. And with over 100,000+ fonts describing our world today, he’s not short of a story or two.

Simon’s natural wit and humorous delivery engaged his audience from the off – with a quick peek into the world of Comic Sans, and how it dominates every PC font library, which he then balanced neatly with observations, and indeed support, of the ‘anti-comic sans’ movement.

While compiling the book, Simon has not only researched interesting facts, like those attributed to the dubious Mr Eric Gill and his ‘experimental’ goings on before inventing the font Gill Sans – but he’s also met and interviewed people like Margaret Calvert, the typographer and designer responsible for many of the UK’s roadsigns. He also told us of an interview with Sir Paul McCartney, but you should read the book to find out what ‘Macca’ had to say about the beautiful elongated T in the his band’s logo.

The hour with Simon passed quickly as he engaged his audience with accounts as varied as use of pangrams, and the fonts used in the US elections which saw Barack Obama lead his campaign with the bold use of the font Gotham, Hilary Clintons use of Baskerville and John McCains use of the ‘weaker’ font, Optima. Optima, Simon tells us, being the standard font used across perfumes and pharmaceutical products. Not really the ideal choice for a presidential election campaign.

Simon’s audience left Charlotte Square – both entertained, and also encouraged to explore their own PC font collections.

Friday 19 August – 2:30pm – Peppers Theatre, Edinburgh Book Festival

Review by Tony Bibby –

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