End of 2010 book recommendations

Posted on 31 December 2010 in:

Over the past two months, I’ve acquired more books than usual … books that I purchased on my own, received review copies of, or was given as gifts for my birthday or Christmas. Of those, these are the titles that I have just finished reading, or am starting now, as the year changes. They are not ranked, but listed alphabetically, by the author’s last name.

  1. Max Bollwage, Buchstabengeschichte(n). New history of type and lettering by one of Germany’s elder typographic scholars. Includes interesting, more detailed claims about the development of the alphabet from hieroglyphs than anything I have read before. Also includes sections that have been previously published elsewhere, such as his type classification scheme, which I first encountered in the Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 2000. (Info.)
  2. Harry Carter, with an introduction by James Mosley, A view of early typography: up to about 1600. James Mosley’s lectures at Reading spurned me on to finally read this book, but I didn’t have a copy of my own until last week. (Info.)
  3. FontShop, Berlin and Fuenfwerken, apfel i. I was lucky enough to get a free copy of the expanded second edition if this small wire-bound typesetting reference manual before supplies ran out. FontBlog has announced that it will be published as an eBook soon.
  4. Adrian Frutiger, Type Sign Symbol. After about a year’s worth of searching for a copy of this classic text that wouldn’t cost a fortune, I found a seller who I was happy with. This book is an interesting snapshot of typeface design at the time (1980), but the book is not as comprehensive or useful as the much more recent Adrian Frutiger Typefaces: The Complete Works.
  5. Anneloes van Gaalen, Never use more than two different typefaces: and 50 other ridiculous typography rules. I received a review copy of this book from BIS Publishers. I have not read the book yet, but I am looking forward to it. I hope to post a review of the book here by mid-February 2011. (Info.)
  6. Juli Gudehus, Das Lesikon der visuellen Kommunikation. I’m not usually swayed by reading reports of how awesome other people’s books are. So I paid little attention to all of the positive reviews about this book over the last three months. But then, a week before Christmas at the Linotype office, I saw a copy of the book: it really was awesome! The type, the paper, the binding, the writing, the originality … I loved everything about it, except for the slip case it comes in. This feels less qualitative than the book itself. I ordered the book from FontShop.de, which had a 20-percent-off sale through 31 December. (Info.)
  7. Frank Heine, Type&c. Better than Emigre No. 70: The Look Back Issue, this designer “autobiography” shows almost all of the graphic and type design work from the author, who unfortunately passed away shortly after the book was published in 2003.
  8. Jan Middendorp, Creative Characters. I read all of the interviews in this colorful volume in their original format: e-mail newsletters from MyFonts.com. Still, I am very happy that they have been republished in printed form. Jan and BIS Publishers sent me a copy to review. I should have an article about this book up by the end of January. I don’t know where I will publish my review, though. Any suggestions? (Info.)
  9. Philipp Oswalt (Ed.), Bauhaus Streit 1919–2009: Kontroversen und Kontrahenten. This was a birthday gift that I was very happy to receive. It includes a number of superb, German-language essays about the historiographical debates on the Bauhaus’s image. Unfortunately, it is the most poorly typeset book I have ever seen.
  10. Eckehart SchumacherGebler et al., F.H. Ernst Schneidler: Schriftentwerfer, Lehrer, Kalligraph. Ever since I first say this book in Indra’s office in Saarbrücken, I’ve been pondering when the right time to buy it would be. This year, the massive tome was my Christmas present to myself. It is a fabulous book; better, for instance, than Adrian Frutiger Typefaces: The Complete Works (but only if you can read German, alas). Many of the pages in this book were printed from handset type, or typeset with a Monotype caster, depending on the chapter. (Info.)