This pleasing type looms large at the bend in the road along Mullens Street, Balmain. This image comes from my book Type Town: a neighbourhood of glyphs, graffiti, ligatures and legs, which will be launched at the exhibition Typecast on Wednesday 22 August. All welcome!


Here is another photograph from my book Type Town. Pictured is one of two W MacFarlane Furniture buildings. This one, the larger of the two, is in Westbourne Street, Petersham. The second is across the street on the corner of Charles Street. Both display similar signage, complete with thistles on matching curved pediments.

Legacy Serif

I’m reading a book which has been set in Legacy Serif. I’m enjoying the book, one that caught my eye at the library by an author I have previously not had the pleasure of reading. The book cover is an unfussy design, with simple, elegant typography, which is the kind of book that my hand automatically picks up when I am making choices about my reading matter for the next three weeks or so. I have no doubt mentioned this before, but I love the library. It allows me access to more books than I could possibly afford to buy; when I find a writer I like I can go back for more; if I borrow a book that doesn’t grab me I can return it without having to suffer it all the way to the bitter end; and I don’t have to store books at home that I will only ever read once. My current book is published by Bloomsbury, who, to my great pleasure and approval, include a note about the type on the back page. The choice of Legacy Serif in this case is perfect, enhancing the joy of reading without detracting from the writing itself. Legacy Serif was designed by Ronald Arnholm in 1992.

Sahara Bodoni


Sahara Bodoni is a lushly elegant ultra heavy display face based on Bodoni. It was designed by Bob Alonso in 1996 and published by his company BA Graphics. Alonso was a highly regarded and skilled lettering artist. He gained much of his experience working with type designers Ed Benguiat, Tony Stan and Vic Caruso at the New York based Photo-Lettering Inc (known as PLINC), a company that pioneered photocomposition in the 1930s. PLINC closed in the 1980s, and in 2003, House Industries bought the entire physical assets of PLINC—material amount to 42 cubic metres.



Embossing the word ‘eggs’ into the end of an egg carton strikes me as completely superfluous. Egg cartons are an unmistakable item of packaging and, just in case you need clarification on the contents, they invariably have detailed printed labels stuck on the top. But I’m rather pleased they added the unnecessary touch. ‘Eggs’ is such a typographically pleasing word when it’s displayed large using a serif typeface with a double-bowl g. The yellow is pretty striking too—just the colour egg yolks used to be, and so much sunnier than the usual off-white, beige or greige cartons.



Perpetua was designed by Eric Gill in 1928 for Stanley Morison, typographic advisor for Monotype Corporation. Morison had a twofold plan for the growth of the Monotype library: the first stage was to develop modern interpretations of classic designs for machine composition; and the second stage was to develop new designs, which is where Gill came in. The design and release of Perpetua was fraught with complications. Gill was openly disdainful of mechanical devices (which included the Monotype typesetter), and Monotype’s management was conservative, and hostile towards Morison’s ideas. Then the project was put on hold because it was considered that a new sans serif design was more urgent than a new book face. Perpetua was finally released more than seven years after Gill was first commissioned to start work on it.