I'm more than a little fascinated by this thread on the font in Clotilde's book! In a million years I never would have wondered about the font - to me font is just a vehicle for the words themselves, as long as the font is easy to read and not too distracting.
However, it is interesting that typeface is significant to the point that Perrie 'sleuthed' to figure it out and birgit recognized the font and knew some facts about it.
That is so cool. Now I'll be more attentive to font, even though I don't really understand why. Any ideas why it is so important?
Fonts are cool! They must be very unusual for me to recognize and call them by name, though--I'm impressed too, birgit. The C&Z cookbook (US version) uses several fonts. Each dish is named in both French and English--one in curvy print, one plainer. The ingredients, side notes, pages to introduce sections use varied fonts and colors.
I remember my father could artfully print his name [John Malone] as a standing horse! The big looping J was the face, 2 long-legged Ns, etc. Now there is SO much graphic/alphabet art, I love to see it.
Lots of books identify the font, usually at the very end of the book, along with some history or trivia.
a particularly clever use of individually designed letters.
Just recently Gourmet Magazine published a big cookbook--ooops--some of the text was in light yellow which disappeared under home kitchen lights! The next edition corrected this, but you'd think somebody along the line would have caught it!
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 Posts: 2498 Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:22 pm Post subject:
What a creative guy! I am in awe of such originality. _________________ God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
Thank you for your compliments -- I'll try to provide a little more information.
The C&Z cookbook (US version) uses several fonts. Each dish is named in both French and English--one in curvy print, one plainer. The ingredients, side notes, pages to introduce sections use varied fonts and colors.
In the GB edition there are several fonts as well. The french name of the dish is printed in "Bembo" (serif typeface, see link below), the english name in "Myriad" (sans serif typeface, see link below). The pages to introduce sections use a script font for the french name of a section (printed in "Scriptina", which is the font Clotilde uses for "Zucchini"), followed by "Myriad" (set in Caps for the english section title). The french recipe name is set in "Bembo italic" (see link below), followed by the english recipe name set in "Bembo".
*** a little excursion on typefaces and typography ***
It's all about small details, that's why it's a bit tricky to find out, but these details are fun
Liberally you can say that there are two main groups of typefaces. Those with and those without serifs. Serifs are the little "feet" at the end of a letter as in Bembo. Myriad is a sans serif typeface, i.e. there are no serifs attached. And nowadays there generally is an additional italic version also. Sometimes this is a "real" italic (i.e. with some letterforms different from the upright version), sometimes it is just a slanted and then optically adjusted version of the upright letters. Here you can see examples of Bembo italic and Myriad italic.
Any ideas why it is so important?
Type contains and transports a great deal of our cultural heritage. "Bembo" is a good example for this because it's more than 600 years old and we still use these special and slightly quirky figures to set books with it which are a pleasure to read! There have been technical changes concerning the methods of setting type, but the forms of the letters and their appearance on paper are still largely the same.
Another reason why typefaces are that fascinating lies, in case they're well chosen, in the harmony of form and content. An adequately chosen typeface should visually translate and, at its best, indiscernibly enhance the content of a given text. Even if you can't exactly say why you can somehow "feel" if a typeface is appropriate to the content or not. Just imagine "Bembo" used on a street sign or, on the contrary, a novel set in the typeface you see on motorway signage. It will lead you, at first sight, unconsciously to a totally different option for the interpretation of the coming content.
There are interesting ornamental things you can do with single letters, like those presented by the above link to Scott Kim. And in case you want to take a closer look, there is a historical element as well. As soon as you start to study this subject a little closer, you'll see more and more differences, which might be tiny but more clearly recognizable as soon as you see several lines of text. And be cautious, some people say typography is a virus (although not a bad one ...)
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 Posts: 1196 Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:21 am Post subject:
Thanks for all that wonderful info, birgit. You're so right about typeface enhancing the content of text.
So you're a typographer - is this what you do for a job, or an interest? I'd love to know more about what tyographers do - would it be up to you to choose the font/s for books that are being published, for example?
One of the best examples of font being used well in a novel was in Jodi Picoult's 'My Sister's Keeper'. The novel was written from the point of view of 5 family members, and perhaps other characters as well, I can't remember. Each person had a couple of chapters in the book, all were written in the first person, and each had his or her own font. It worked very well, and is a great read. _________________ Doing what you like is freedom
Liking what you do is happiness
I can agree with you that fonts are not something I had ever noticed, until I started dating my font-ethusiast beau. They just conveyed words, to me. Now, it's something that I notice more often, certainly, but not with the attention to detail that he can bring forth.
And I'm not sure if the GB edition is different from the US, but the boyfriend doesn't think it's Bembo, judging by the lowercase J, M, and T. The working theory is the bowl of the lower-case 'a' is very distinctive, and what's giving us trouble. The theory also holds that it's a contemporary serif of some kind. In all honesty, I have little to no idea, though I learn more everyday.
I'm glad this has started a nice thread, though my apoligies that it's not exactly on-point food-wise.
Last edited by Perrie on Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
Typography is a part of graphic design, it means to keep a special eye on the choice of typefaces and their appropriate use for the benefit of the recipient. This means for example
- analyzing the content first (reading and understanding the text, not just seeing it as a "grey area" to be placed somewhere on the page, considering historical context, thinking about the expected audience, etc.)
- considering things like the kind of paper it will be printed on (for example newspaper behaves different than glossy stuff) or the expected screen size or resolution when it comes to web typography, thinking about the surroundings the text will be read in, etc.
- choosing a suitable typeface (for a novel or a newspaper or signage or with special accents (think different languages) or special letters for mathematical books or ligatures and small caps if suitable, or typefaces for children just beginning to read, etc.) or a combination of well matching typefaces
- choosing the size of the typeface in relation to the general size of the page, the space between letters, the space between lines of words and the overall space of the page as well as a stylistically suitable integration of illustrations/photographs/diagrams etc. to get an inviting and reader-friendly page layout, or, if the task is to make a text completely non-readable (= more atmosphere than legibility), this can be achieved, too ...
Generally this all results in the special quality and the above talked about harmony between form and content.
as the Serif typeface in the GB edition is definitely Bembo (there are crossed centre strokes in the capital W and this lovely bowed capital K, for example), I'd assume that there is a different typeface in the US edition. But I've just seen that the index of the GB edition has been printed with a different typeface. It's considerably small but as far as I can see it looks like Perpetua. Maybe the US edition has been printed generally in Perpetua? The italic are especially nice (see lowercase f, g and k)
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 Posts: 2498 Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:34 pm Post subject:
My dad, after WWII designed type for IBM. In his spare time he ran a small printing press and designed logos. The font called "Presidential" which was once one of the standard choices on IBMs was his. He designed it for Eisenhower and got to present it to him.
I used to love to look through his enormous books of type faces. I wonder what those books would look like or, more to the point, weigh now, now that people design and offer fonts as shareware inventing new styles with increasing fury and imagination. _________________ God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
Thank you for the excellent detective work. It does appear the two fronts are different in the GB and US editions. The capital 'W' has no serif in the middle, nor do they cross, ruling out both Bembo and Perpetua.
I think the key here is the lowercase 'a' in the main recipe text of the US edition. The bowl is rather distinct in that it is nearly concave, while the top stroke is nearly horizontal, rather than curving downward.
I clearly lack the technical nomenclature for these things, but I hope that describes it. My kingdom for a scanner!
Last edited by Perrie on Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
Ok, so we think the winner is ITC Mendoza. We took a picture of it (so he wouldn't have to keep stealing the book from me), and he did a bit more sleuthing. Here's the picture of the text; it's really a lovely font.
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