As you may be able to tell from recent posts on this blog, I’ve been interested in typography recently. Of all the books I’ve bought recently on the subject, I possibly only needed to have bought this one: Letter Fountain from Taschen.
(My Amazon affiliate link if you want to help me out: Letter Fountain: The Anatomy of Type)
Letter Fountain (or Letterfontein, as the non-English versions are called) was initially self-published in 1994 in French, German, and Dutch. 15,000 copies were sold by 2000, over half of them in the Netherlands, at which time the book went out of print. Apparently, Pohlen says, teachers in the Netherlands were so dependent on the book for their type classes they told students to buy second-hand copies. With that impetus, [Joep] Pohlen decided to revise and enlarge the book from 15,000 to 150,000 words. In 2009, after seven weeks of brisk sales, the first printing sold out. In 2010 the next edition was published internationally by Taschen Books and is currently available.
The front of the book is the best orientation to the logic of fonts that I’ve seen. There may be better books about using the art of typography on a page, but this is the master on the subtleties and dynamics of different fonts. Watch how adding or subtracting serifs changes the emotion of the page. Why are some letters thinner or longer? This book’s knowledge goes deep without getting academic; almost every page can be appreciated by an enthusiastic novice.