I Love Typography

Sunday Type: Present Type

The Gift of Christmas Type

Christmas is fast approaching, and I’ve resisted the temptation to add snow and tinsel to my header. There will be no snow on this blog. I’m sure that most of you—being incredibly well-organised—will have completed your Christmas shopping by now. For those who haven’t, here are some gift ideas for those who love type. Depending on your budget (and how much you like the intended recipient), there’s something for just about everyone.

For typenuts with a sweet tooth, how about this:


I don’t recommend typesetting an entire book with these. Thanks to Mark for sending me this link.

Start your day with a coffee in one of these. Type and Latte combined; could it get any better?


Via the wonderful Hoefler & Frere-Jones (always a great place for beautiful type-related things). Or, how about these absolutely stunning Wood Type Notecards:


Have a secret crush on Zuzana Licko? (me too. Guess it’s no longer a secret; but then how could anyone fail to fall for the woman behind Mrs Eaves and Emigre magazine?) Then buy an Emigre t-shirt, and relive the good old days of the best Design magazine ever to grace the news-stands.


Still on the t-shirt theme, why not a Typophile t-shirt. You’ll have to wait until the New Year for the I Love Typography T-shirts, I’m afraid.

Typophile t-shirts

Buy a great T-shirt and at the same time support our favourite source of quality free fonts, Exljbris:


Fallen in love with a typenut? Win her heart, by putting the FontBook in her stocking—you’ll need a big stocking, preferably with steel reinforcement as this one weighs in at a pretty hefty 3kg (6.6 lb)!


YouTube Preview Image

How about a type sample book? Why not make your own. Have a friend who loves Template Gothic or who’s crazy for Meta Serif, Feijoa or Kinescope? Make a sample book and get it printed at BookSmart.


For Type Sample inspiration and tips, see Ellen Lupton’s web site, or ask one of the friendly type designers here.

Don’t forget to buy yourselves something for Christmas. And what better gift than a typeface. Here are a few to get you started:







There are many more in the black sidebar on the right, or you can peruse the vast FontFont library of fonts. Or, how about a type book? Choose from the recommended books above and to your right (unless you’re reading this standing on your head); or take a look at one of these:


I have all but Letters of Credit (recommended by Dan of TypeOff [happy birthday]); I’ve read all the others and can recommend them.

Other News

For those of you who like your type without counters, you’ll like this:


Lost Type

My flight was cancelled after a scary aborted take-off, so I had to fly via Amsterdam and South Korea; and in all that chaos, I lost my type design notebooks! No great loss to the world, but annoying nonetheless.

Budget Type

And if you’re really broke, then why not send your friends a life-time subscription to I Love Typography. It’s completely free, and always will be. That way you’ll be giving me the gift of a new visitor too :)

Coming Soon

The third part in the type terminology series—Transitional Type. Also an article on Serifs—really a long-overdue follow-up to the Who Shot the Serif? article; and much more.

Have a great Sunday everyone, and a typographically lovely Christmas.


  1. It’s funny that you mention the chocolate letters. In the Netherlands chocolate initials are traditional presents for Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas). That being said your timing for this post is just a little late, but still very much relevant.

    Just found this: http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=521

  2. Squawk
    I think you mentioned those before; I was racking my brain, trying to remember where I heard about them. Thanks for the link. And congratulations on being at the top of the Best CSS Design of 2007 list.

  3. Wow. Great ideas Johno! Now if only my friends and family were as crazy about type as I am… (I’m trying to get my coworkers more into it, with some success, hehe)

    Also, congrats to you and Squawk on your Best CSS Designs of 2007 mentions. They’re well deserved.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  4. May I suggest adding anything from FontSmith to that wonderful Christmas font purchasing list? :) For instance, let’s say FS Lola. Well, at least that’s my present this year.

    I think I might end up getting Aviano Slab as well and Montelago from Astigmatic….

  5. To vouch for LoC: You’ll hear constant buzz about Letters of Credit on Typophile, and it comes up more often than other books so far in classes at Reading (except maybe for Harry Carter’s A View of Early Typography: Up to About 1600 or James Mosely’s The Nymph and the Grot). The book is divided sort of into two parts. The first describes type production from say the late 1800s through to the 1970s or 80s, including a sometimes-but-not-always commendable method of letter fitting.

    The second section is golden. It has profiles of the work of Dwiggins, Koch, Goudy, van Krimpen, and on Stanley Morison’s work on Times New Roman. If you didn’t love TNR before you read that chapter, you will when it is over. There really aren’t that many concise written summaries of the work of Dwiggins, Koch, Goudy, or van Krimpen in English.

    For Koch, you’d have to go back to an article or two from the 1920s in The Fleuron, although a big extensive historical retrospective book was published about him around 2000.

  6. Since the English-edition of While You’re Reading has only recently just been released, at Reading we’re all busy reading While You’re Reading. Sorry, that is a bit of a pun, but since the cover is shown up in the post, I had to do it!

  7. Dan
    No doubt you were all hUNGERing to read it too.

  8. Awesome gift ideas! Now how do I make subtle overtures to my family and friends to read this post?…

  9. zachary

    I definitely agree with Dan on Letters of Credit. It’s not available new on amazon.com, but it seems to be available on the publisher’s website http://www.godine.com

    Another book Dan mentioned which I fully agree with is Counterpunch, but a new edition is supposed to be out in early 2008 so that should be a gift for next year. I know I’ll be getting myself one.

    Another gift possibility is a DVD of Helvetica the documentary. There are also still a few screenings coming up. I went to a screening a couple months ago and ordered the DVD after that with two buttons that say “I love Helvetica” and “I hate Helvetica.” If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it.

  10. I can’t believe how fast this Christmas is approaching, I better hurry up with my xmas presents. Speaking of the chocolate letters, I usually buy them (big chunky ones) for my cake decorations - just the initials of whose birthday it is. As it turns out, those letters are imported here (Canada) from the Netherlands ;-)

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your notebooks, Johno. So are you back in Japan now? It’s the most hectic time to fly now.

  11. Régis Kuckaertz

    … or why not choose one of those marvelous Font Clocks featuring not less than 12 typefaces:


    Found this in I.D. and thought you might be interested ;-)

  12. Alec
    That’s tricky, but you could accidentally subscribe to iLT when you’re using their computer, and leave print-outs of this article around the house ;)

    Vivien (inspirationbit)
    Yes, back in Japan now. I guess I’d better start my shopping!

    How could I forget the Helvetica movie! Thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks for the link. Yes, interested :)

  13. erik spiekermann

    Nice video. Too bad that all apostrophes disappeared and were replaced by foot marks. I’d like to point out that al fonts shown in FontBook do have an apostrophe as well as proper quote marks. They can be used without any extra software, just by using the proper keystrokes.

  14. Vivien (inspirationbit)
    I’d love to know where you find those Chocolate letters in Canada! :)

    I’m shipping your Helvetica DVD today. I hope it arrives before Christmas!

  15. superb recommendations! I just have to take issue with one point:

    relive the good old days of the best Design magazine ever to grace the news-stands

    have we forgotten Critique so quickly?

  16. Hamish
    I checked out your site to see where abouts do you live in Canada - looks like you live in Montreal now? I live in Vancouver and saw those letters just last week at London Drugs. Also they always sell them at the Lonsdale Quay (North Vancouver) chocolate shop. :-)

  17. Sorry about that last comment of mine, plain*clothes ;-) Critique was nice, and sadly too short-lived. But it was no Emigre.

  18. Vivien (inspirationbit)
    Thanks! No London Drugs here, but our equivalent, Jean Coutu might have it. I’ll look into it!

    By the way, I was born in Vancouver (as mentioned on my site…) — have you always lived there?

  19. Now if only my girlfriend was crazy about type as I am, I know she would love the type chocolates :) I have to send this link to my secret santa and hope they will get me something nice ha ha. :) Good Stuff!

  20. Erik
    Thank you. Yes, I noticed that too, but as it’s my first video with iMovie, I was stumbling around, not really knowing what I was doing. I’m in the process of fixing it; hopefully this time my apostrophes will show as apostrophes—fingers crossed. (Now fixed.)

    I was also hoping that this poorly produced video would inspire someone else (with the requisite skills) to produce a much slicker version. My initial idea for the video was to have a Moses-like figure coming down from Mount Sanai, not with the Ten Commandments, but with a copy of FontBook. If there are any clever video producers out there listening…

    Introducing your girlfriend to type via chocolate—sounds like a smart idea.

    Sorry, but Emigre has a place in my heart. It still brings tears of joy to my eyes. I’d like to be buried with a copy :) (hopefully in the very distant future, of course).

    I think you’ve already given me enough material for a Type Humour article.

  21. Hamish
    I’ve lived in Vancouver since 2000. Hope you can find those letters in Montreal.

  22. Know what? You would have never won that CSS award with that old ugly sidebar of yours (you know what i am talking about)… Hehe :)

    Have a christmas of the merry type, dearest John!

  23. I recently found my latest pressie to myself, Typography papers 6, here in Sydney.
    Letter’s of Credit is a great read. It’s full of Walter Tracy’s opinions, some of which you may not agree with.

  24. Manuel
    You’re my CSS conscience. Have a great Christmas too. Hope you’re doing well, friend.
    PS: thanks for the CSS tips :)

    A fine gift indeed.

  25. Where oh where did those delectable initial-mugs come from? I followed the link but found only the chocolate initials (delectable in their own way).

    What a great line-up of typography-related bliss! That’s what Christmas is really all about — great type.

    (Or am I missing something?) : )

  26. Leah
    Nice to see you here again. From being a regular lurker, you’re now a regular contributor :) I’ve fixed that link (thanks), and I’ve also added those beautiful Wood Type cards.

  27. Johno,
    Sweet, thanks! And yes, once I delurk, I generally continue to make my presence known. Hehe. : )

  28. Steven

    Hi there,

    I like your suggestion of TheSans. What is a good accompanying font to go with TheSans SemiBold?

  29. Régis Kuckaertz

    Not strictly type-related, but still…

    I’ve just discovered something I couldn’t stand not to share right now with all of you: an english company is creating wall murals, from images taken out of famous art&design places such as the Victoria and Albert Museum. There’s this beautiful set of Edward Lear’s nonsense alphabet in “Collections > V&A > Edward Lear - Alphabet”, wouldn’t it look superb on one of your office’s walls? :-)

  30. Régis
    That’s a wonderful link! A little on the pricey side however; all the same, it’s stunning.

  31. Very good article.
    Thanks for sharing.

  32. hehe, Awesome gift ideas..
    i love it..

  1. Late kerstkado’s—Apr 30, 2008

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