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Old 06-30-2006, 06:19 PM   #1
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Default Really useful book on Illustrator and more

Leslie Cabarga’s Logo, Font & Lettering Bible is nothing of the sort, but it is a fascinating compendium of insights into letters and how to draw them, how to think about type (especially display type and logos), and — most usefully — how to create characters and even fonts by drawing in Illustrator.

The 256-page book is densely illustrated with good (and bad) examples of logos, letters, and fonts. It is giddily disorganized, or seems that way. Officially it is arranged this way:
Part 1: The logo
Part 2: Drawing letters
Part 3: Fonts — the art of making faces
Part 4: Business sections
(BTW, Cabarga endeared me to his TOC by the old illustrations that border the text, especially the Speedball Pens and Skrip ink bottle, examples of which I have around here somewhere!)

Cabarga’s work reminds me somewhat of Ed Benguiat’s. Both are masters of the graceful — nay I say voluptuous — curve. The work of both hearkens back to the 19th century.

But none of that matters when he is at his best, analyzing old logos, thinking about new ones, and discussing how to draw letters. There are also glimmerings of history — with examples from Durer, the contemporary Paul Shaw, Clarence Hornung, and more.

But this book has two pragmatic aspects. First, the more frivolous: It takes you down unfamilar pathways. Second, it shows you specifically how to use Illustrator to create letters, logos, and even entire fonts.

Most interesting is the section on creating outline characters (Bézier curves and lines instead of filled shapes) and then using Illustrator’s functions to make characters of controlled widths. (Very clever stuff.)

He also discusses Illustrator-to-Fontographer and Fontographer-to-FontLab issues, though not in depth.

This book is not a software manual; it is not specifically related to text type design. But it is a fabulous look and read.

It would have been nice if the text were larger and easier to read; plan on having a table and good light for reading this book.

If you buy it directly from Cabarga, he will include a nice autograph and a free font. It may be cheaper elsewhere, of course, penny by penny. But do take a look at it wherever you can find it. Worth having.

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