Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Graphic Arts ABC: Volume 1: Square-Serif by Dan Smith.

Graphic Arts ABC: Volume 1: Square-Serif by Dan Smith.  Hardcover book (no dust jacket) published by A. Kroch & Sons 1945, 109 pages with black and white illustrations (some illustrations have some colour in them).


“This book, the first of a series of publications, each dealing with the characteristics and uses of a well known family of typefaces, is the result of an interesting experiment in graphic arts development: the Graphic Arts Clinic initiated by Poole Bros. Inc.” 

A wise man once pointed out to me that books about fonts have a certain popularity with certain members of the book buying public.  Font aficionados enjoy a good font book despite the wealth of font information on the interwebs.  Needless to say, I am always on the look out for any book with a whiff of fontiness and was very pleased when my radar picked out this one.  As you can see the front cover doesn’t really give an indication as to the contents.  The spine with the words Square-Serif was a better clue to the joys within.

Having looked at fonts on more than the odd occasion, I was familiar with the word Serif… not that I know what it means… I just know that it’s often associated with fonts.  The quick flick test and my suspicions were confirmed.  In my hand I had a copy of a vintage book looking at "typeface" which is not a type of face, but what we now know (and some of us love) as fonts.

Most of us now look at fonts in relation to our computers.  This book was published a long time before you and I even dreamed of having a computer or two in our homes.  It was aimed at “various branches of the graphic arts” as apposed to the font loving public, therefore rather than pages and pages of fonts, the book has some excellent 1940s examples of graphic design using, you guessed it, Square-Serif.

This is the sort of book that one day someone will stumble across on the interwebs, or in the flesh (as hard as this is to believe), and get a fonty excitement over it.  It’s an awesome book.