Stephen Coles’ The Anatomy of Type, reviewed.

Talk nerdy to me. You’re my type.

originalWhat about old friend Helvetica, Miss Typography of 1957 (and pretty much every year after)? Coles theorizes that its universality stems from the fact that its “shapes and widths are unusually uniform.” This homogeneity makes it perfect for big display logos but “not as effective for long passages of text, where dynamic rhythm and unique lettershapes are vital.”

Keep leafing around. Garamond Premier “has a formal personality that might not fit more casual topics.” Baskerville Original has a “debonair swagger.” The cosmetics industry has long employed Optima’s “elegant serenity to label all manner of creams, ointments, and makeup.”

If you are presently staring at an open browser on a computer monitor, you are very likely reading these words in Verdana—a font designed for Microsoft in 1994. Note the squared, not rounded, dot above this i. Be aware that this a is double-story (sheltered beneath that little left-pointing awning) and not single-story (a simple circle with a vertical stroke adjacent to its right edge). Consider whether this monocular g (with that left-pointing swoop beneath its main loop) would look better if it were instead binocular (with a second, smaller loop linking down below).

via Slate Magazine.