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Type catalogues and books


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I have several books of type and typefaces in my library, including a couple on how to identify a typeface. Some are catalogues from typesetters, others just show glyph sets from various faces, and others offer comparisons of similar faces. I use these all the time when I'm hunting for a suitable face, but I also just like browsing the pages. Does anyone else here have similar books? I'd like to see more. I will make a list of those I have and post it in the comments (with some images) if anyone else is interested in this sort of book. (I also have some books on designing with type).

I've attached some images of one such book. I recently came across this particular typeface catalogue buried in my library and somewhat forgotten. It was printed for the 25th anniversary of CompuGraphic in 1985, but reprinted in '87. Has some interesting and innovative typefaces in it. I picked it up in the late 1980s, likely when I was doing freelance editing and writing for tech companies.




IMG_6053 (1).JPG

IMG_6054 (1).JPG


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14 minutes ago, Godzilla said:

Does anyone else here have similar books?

Quite a few, including old Swiss letterpress books from the 50s or 60s which I found in a garbage container some 30 years ago…

Looking at your photos, "Heldustry" and "Helios" are obvious Helvetica rip-offs, hehe…
Also "Triplett" rings a bell although I can't put my finger on it off the top of my head.

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I have a few books like these too. It's nice to have them, but there are also some services on the web, where you can e.g. upload screenshots of a text to find out what font it is and to find comparisons/alternatives. And I think that these books are not up to date today anyway. What I miss a little is a good service for font classification. So a service that shows up if a font is e.g. a Renaissance Antiqua, Barock, Classicism... or even an Egyptienne, Uncial, Rotunda... or whatever and why. I have two books about that too, but it is often not easy to say of what kind a font is. Any recommendations would be welcome.

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Three more books from my collection. The leftmost one is a printing textbook from 1904 by Charles Thomas Jacobi. It has the original owner's name and date on the frontspiece as Nov. 1906. The middle is an undated, Cerlox-bound handout from Domtar, and the rightmost is a small 1968 book from Howard & Smith Monotype. It has a subtitle inside: A Guide to Better Typographic Communication. I get great joy holding a book that is 120 years old, knowing that before me others opened it, read it, examined the images, and learned from it.

I much prefer actual books to a website, although I have used them to help identify fonts and found many to be very informative. My last two versions of CorelDraw came with What The Font access built in. It was very handy when I had to replicate a face for a client's new work and they had no idea what had been used.

In large part I prefer the printed version because I like to read and own books, and to refer to them at my leisure, not merely when I am online. I read a lot these days (two-four hours most days). At night I read in bed for at least an hour and will often choose books from my library like this to reread or look for content related to come project or study. That's how I found these three: looking for something else I recalled from my library I hoped might help with a project I am working on.

I also sometimes pick up old books from yard sales or library discards and examine them for their type and layout. I have several shelves of books from the mid-1800s to the 1930s (as well as a few thousand song sheets from about 1880 to 1940). Mostly I keep them because I like to examine the typography, rather than to actually read them (well, most of the songsheets are for playing music on my ukuleles...). To my wife's annoyance, I once rescued an entire set of encyclopedias from the 1940s just because they were so beautifully set and laid out (you can see some pages here).




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Yes, I'm a book fan too. I collected books for many years, preferably well illustrated and designed books of all kinds (even Comic Books). It was a huge challenge as I changed my residence some years ago, because I had to literally move mountains. There is no alternative to books for me in general, but especially in case of reference books, digital media has some advantages. It is much easier and quicker to click links than to flip through books, page up, page down.

Your examples are really beautiful, especially the last ones. I like this concept reminding to the great Encyclopedia of Diderot, D'Alembert and others. Amazing stuff.

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