Why Type Matters, by Staffordshire University lecturer Jim Williams

“Two years ago I was asked by The Foundry in Manchester to give a series of talks – simple tips to help their junior designers. I’d had the presentation lying about on my desk and I spoke to Barbara Ridley, who said it wouldn’t take much to prepare it for print. I owe it to the University for finding the funds for the booklet.”

Staffordshire University lecturer Jim Williams

What’s black and white and read all over? Well, if the rave reviews and sales figures are any indication, it’s a book on typography by Staffordshire University lecturer Jim Williams.

Type Matters! is described by its author as “my career in 160 pages: it references people I’ve worked with and learned from.”

Since it was published by Merrell in April, Type Matters! has been remarkably well received, and it is testament to the book’s simple elegance that Amazon ran out of copies the day after publication.

The demand for his book, Jim suspects, is down to a renaissance or resurgence in typography – or it could just be that his ‘simple tips for everyday typography’ are what designers have been being crying out for.

Jim has been working part-time as a lecturer at Staffordshire University for 19 years – while continuing to work as a graphic designer – and says he owes his rise to author to the University.

“Two years ago I was asked by The Foundry in Manchester to give a series of talks – simple tips to help their junior designers. I’d had the presentation lying about on my desk and I spoke to Barbara Ridley, who said it wouldn’t take much to prepare it for print. I owe it to the University for finding the funds for the booklet.”

Produced primarily for students, the booklet ‘Type Matters!’ was seized on by industry magazine Creative Review. From there, Jim received requests for the booklet from Apple in California and was approached by the publisher Abrams.

He explains: “This gave me the confidence to think I could do the book, and, following talks with two other publishers, Merrell made me an offer that was true to my vision and design.”

Jim is delighted with the finished product – and more than a little taken aback by its reception. Yet he remains as passionate as ever about his subject.

“It’s because it’s everywhere and people do still type; it’s therefore important for them to understand the difference between legibility and readability and to realise that what the computer gives you is not necessarily right.

“One of the nicest comments I’ve had was from a retired art teacher in Bolton who emailed to say I’d made it simple to understand.”

Notes to editors: Jim Williams is available for interview about typography and his book Type Matters!. To arrange interviews, telephone Staffordshire University Press Office on 01782 294375.

Contact

Maria Scrivens
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Public Relations
L600, Flaxman Building
College Road
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 2DE
t: +44 (0)1782 294375
m: 07766 520339
e: m.c.scrivens@staffs.ac.uk