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"At last -- someone has brought together the rich heritage of American Type Designers into a single volume! This is a true milestone for all designers, young and old!"
Reviewer Fred Showker, Editor/Publisher of DT&G Magazine

American Type Design & Designers

by David Consuegra

Unfortunately this book arrived on our doorstep too late to include in the required books for my typography class at James Madison University, this semester. However, you can be sure it will be on that list next semester. Why?
      I cannot stress too strongly the need for young designers to understand where letterforms came from, how they developed and who developed them. Up until printing presses began to appear in young America, type and typography was largely dominated by the Old Style faces which had been in use for literally hundreds of years. Once America embraced the design and printing arts there was no end to the creativity which began to emerge -- such creativity which today influences the whole world's taste in typestyles.

The Timeline presented in Philip Meggs' Typographic Design: Form and Communication", illustrates the wonderfull history of type from its most primitive beginnings to the ultra-experimental styles of today. One overwhelming revelation emerges around the mid-1700s, when the look and feel of typography diverges from the prim and proper into a myriad of typestyles from serious to fanciful. Welcome to the scene, American typefounders!

Author, David Consuegra knew the significance of this change in the timeline and has blessed us all with his new book: American Type Design & Designers.
      This exhaustive and unique reference chronicles the history of type in America through the typefaces and biographies of the most influential type designers in the world short of Janson, Garamond, Baskerville and Bodoni. I'm told the project took David nearly ten years -- but once you see it, you'll understand that literally thousands of tedious hours of research and documentation had to have been necessary to compile such a tome. With coverage of 334 typefaces, complete with samples from both obscure and known publications, this wonderful reference reveals the contribution America has made to the world of type. You can also understand why I want to make it required reading for my 246 Typography class at JMU. More importantly, it belongs on the desk or shelf of anyone who uses typography in visual communications.

Jennifer Idol, Newsletter Chair, Austin Chapter AIGA, American Institute of Graphic Arts says:
      "Students and designers would greatly benefit from thoroughly reading and referencing this book in their research. Great detail and bibliographical data are provided to easily investigate topics further. Few readers of any professional practice could leave without thoroughly understanding type and how to design effectively after reading Consuegra's book and investigating the references he cites."

A Milestone in the field of Typography

American Type Design Consuegra is not just a graphic design consultant, highly skilled in the typographic discipline -- he's also professor emeritus at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He chronicles the history of American type design and profiles the creators of some 330 different typefaces -- most of which you've used but never known the history of. He also includes a thorough chronology relating the history of type from 1600 to present, Glossary of Typographical Terms and one of the most academically correct bibliographies I've ever seen in a post-internet book.

David takes you on a tour of 62 of the most influential American type designers -- from Arnholm (ITC Legacy Sans, 1992) to Wiebking (Artcraft, 1912) and all points between. His biographical essays show you the people behind the typefaces, beginning with the first US-printed Bible and continuing through the world of leading edge digital fonts. Amazingly enough, he has managed to include photos of designers! To me, this is well worth the price of the book alone. Then, he treats us to more 330 reproductions of famous type designs -- many in their original use for newspapers, brochures, announcements, billboards and posters. For instance, you're probably familiar with Ed Benguiat's "Benguiat" font, but did you know he also designed Tiffany, Souvenir and Korinna?

Jennifer Idol later comments:
      "Alphabetizing the typographers is a fantastic solution, supported by an alphabetical glossary of typefaces... I can recall no such comprehensive book centered on typographers that is an easy to access tool for designers needing to sharpen their typographical skills."

David Consuegra This is a remarkable book -- I'm delighted someone finally took on the monumental task of bringing together all these designers into one place. You would have to spend hours of research to look up just one of these typefaces, much less it's original uses. Consuegra has done all the leg work for you, and has done it in an intelligent and academic fashion. My only complaint is that I wish Allworth would have used a heavier paper which would have prevented the slight (and distracting) show-through.

About the author: David Consuegra is professor emeritus of graphic design, layout, and typography at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a member of the International Trademark Center in Belgium. The author of several books on graphic design, he lives in Bogota, Colombia.

American Type Design & Designers

American Type Design

If you love typography. If you use typography. If you teach typography. Then you must have this book. Not only is it an unmatched reference, it's just plain fun to thumb through and explore. Just about every page holds a gem of typographic history you won't want to miss.

Thanks for reading, and let me know how you like it!

      reviewed by Fred Showker


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in the Typography department Keywords: Typography: type, fonts, faces, how-to use type, selecting type, using fonts,

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