A post from Shady Characters

Shady Characters at I Love Typography: The Prints and the Pauper

I’ve been a fan of John Boardley’s blog, I Love Typography, since I first started learning about typography and symbols back in 2009. As such, I’m very happy to say that John recently published an extract from The Book at ILT.

The extract comes from chapter 9 of The Book, entitled “The Prints and the Pauper”, and which recounts the rise and fall of Johannes Gutenberg, the originator of movable type in the West. It’s a well-worn story — Gutenberg is one of the best-known inventors in Western history — but it’s also one that is often left only half-told. Specifically, Gutenberg was not the first person to invent movable type; in fact, he may not even have “invented” it at all, at least in the strictest sense of the word. But that’s enough from me — head over to ILT to learn more, and grab a copy of The Book for the full story!


Many thanks to John for publishing an extract from The Book — if you’re at all interested in typography or books, you owe it to yourself to check out I Love Typography. And speaking of typography, while you’re there, be sure take a good look at the gorgeous typewriter-inspired typeface in which the title, captions and accompanying text are set. It’s called Operator, and it’s a new release from Hoefler & Co. I covet it already.

4 comments on “Shady Characters at I Love Typography: The Prints and the Pauper

  1. Comment posted by Trevor Peach on

    Without wishing to pare away at your royalties, I am wondering when a paperback edition of The Book will appear.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Trevor — I’m afraid I don’t know when the paperback edition will arrive, but I’ll be sure to announce it here.

  2. Comment posted by Ype Kingma on

    Thank you for The Book. I now know more about the Ptolemies vs. Seleucids and I’m only at page 23.

    One thing bothers me, though. You state dimensions in inches, but I count in centimeters. There may be a mnemonic to translate inches into centimeters, but it is a little annoying. Elsewhere you state degrees Celsius together with Fahrenheit, why not the same with inches/centimeters?

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Ype — units are specified in Imperial terms because it’s an American publication, but I added metric equivalents where it felt appropriate. The problem with measurements in inches is that in some parts of the book there are too many measurements cited in too short a space to include both without things becoming very wordy. There may also be a bit of subconscious bias going on; personally, I’m quite happy converting back and forth between centimetres and inches but I find Celcius and Fahrenheit less intuitive.

      Separately, thanks for the comment! I’m glad you’re enjoying The Book.

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