20th-Century Typography - Lewis Blackwell

This book tries to cover the evolution of typography through the last century, organised by deacade. I had a vague knowledge of the subject from previous reading, but was hoping to have everything to be drawn together coherently, and in a way that helped expand my knowledge. Ultimately, I was disappointed.

It's not that the content isn't there. The book is well laid-out, and has some great examples. The body text discusses both the major trends and some minor off-shoots, and mentions plenty of work which I hadn't hear of before. What it lacked, however, was a strong connection between the text and the examples. While the samples were generally representative of the decade, they sometimes lacked connection to the text. This is somewhat frustrating as the writer waxes lyrical about some typographer, only to completely fail to provide representative examples. Between this and a writing style that grates on me, and I must say I was somewhat disappointed.

This is the second edition of the book. As the first was published in the late nineties, this one expands coverage to the full twentieth century. However, it does this by tacking a few pages on at the end, ruining the flow.

Posted 2008-04-27.