Letter Fountain - Adobe Trajan

The Adobe Trajan shown above, which was designed by Carol Twombly and is based on the inscriptions on Trajan’s Column, shows the geometrical construction method used to draw on the stone before the cutting began.

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)

The Atlantic: Finally in English: The World’s Best Type Reference Guide

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.

Wink Books: Letter Fountain – A stunningly well-crafted bible of typography

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.

Use your words

Letter Fountain

This title offers everything you could ever want to know about printing letters and numbers, looking back as far as man’s first efforts to communicate with visual signs and drawings. “Letterfountain” is a completely unique typeface handbook: in addition to examining the form and anatomy of every letter in the alphabet (as well as punctuation marks and special characters), the book cross-references type designs with important works of art and art movements from Gutenberg’s times until today.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s