Typographers, printers, and designers like to imagine themselves experts in their fields, and anyone who writes about typography may be assailed for slights and inaccuracies—real or imagined. Ask us which side of the Helvetica ja! vs. bah! divide we occupy, and you’ll hear a discourse as impassioned as any author’s thoughts on the demise of “whom” or the validity of the serial comma.

Keith Houston, a software writer, tills the unforgiving soil of type history via his blog, “Shady Characters.” His chatty posts about type and printing often yield a fresh typographical morsel or two, while his footnotes and cross-references can easily send a reader whirling into cyberspace on all sorts of unexpected tangents.


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