“Type Matters!” (book cover) by Jim Williams (New York: Merrell, 2012)

Merrell: Type Matters! by Jim Williams, New York: Merrell, 2012, 160 pp. Amazon (with preview), Google Books (no preview).

From the publisher website:

Once upon a time, only typesetters needed to know about kerning, leading, ligatures and hanging punctuation. Today, however, most of us work on computers, with access to hundreds of fonts, and we’d all like our letters, reports and other documents to look as good – and be as readable – as possible. But what does all the confusing terminology about ink traps, letter spacing and visual centring mean, and what are the rules for good typography? Type Matters! is a book of tips for everyday use, for all users of typography, from students and professionals to anyone who does any layout design on a computer.

The author Jim Williams has been teaching graphic design as a senior lecturer at Staffordshire University for the past 18 years (see his academic page). He began his career in London as a typographer in advertising, notably working for the famous agency Collet Dickenson Pearce (nowCDP-Travissully London). He’s a member of the New York Type Directors Club. Apart from teaching, he also works with the U.K. based letterpress printing company Blush Publishing (gorgeous products).
The book actually started as a series of talks about day-to-day typography (he was asked to do those talks by a design company who wished to provide tips and advice to its designers). Williams later found the funds necessary to transform this presentation into a booklet which he handed out to his students. The booklet was featured on Creative Review on March 2010 (see “Nice publications: Bumper Edition!” by Gavin Lucas) and managed to attract some attention. Ultimatly, Williams was approach by an editor who proposed to transform de booklet into a full 160 pages book which was just release (May 2012).
This story is told by Williams in the preface he wrote for his book. The whole preface is available online at typetoken®: see “Type Matters! | Jim Williams” by David Watson (May 2, 2012). At the same link, one can find nice photos of the book’s page layout (some of which are reproduced below).

“Type Matters!” (pp. 92-93) by Jim Williams (New York: Merrell, 2012)
“Type Matters!” (pp. 92-93) by Jim Williams (New York: Merrell, 2012) Retrieved from typetoken®
“Type Matters!” (pp. 104-105) by Jim Williams (New York: Merrell, 2012) Retrieved from typetoken®
“Type Matters!” (pp. 104-105) by Jim Williams (New York: Merrell, 2012) Retrieved from typetoken®
“Type Matters!” (pp. 106-107) by Jim Williams (New York: Merrell, 2012) Retrieved from typetoken®
“Type Matters!” (pp. 106-107) by Jim Williams (New York: Merrell, 2012) Retrieved from typetoken®

Some aditional reviews are available online as well:

  • I Love Typography: “Type Matters” a review by James Puckett, May 2, 2012.

    Type Matters is a solid addition to the field of introductory texts on the subject of typography. It is not perfect, but the innovative presentation and short text makes it a great option for design students. And it may be the best gift around for friends and coworkers in need of a quick education in typography.

  • Creative Review: “Type Matters!” by Gavin Lucas, February 27, 2012.
  • Cool Hunting: “Type Matters!” by James Thorne, March 28, 2012.

    The book’s soft leather cover opens to a series of well-designed pages, the knowledge of type embedded in lines of examples. Introductory concepts like weight and letter spacing are paired with lesser-known bits to demonstrate what ultimately constitutes an elegantly executed page, as well as what gets in the way. The world of type also offers a delightfully strange lexicon, so you’ll be armed with intimate knowledge of jittles, picas, nuts, ligatures, ink traps, muttons and kerning.

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