Sample books of typography are like catnip to designers: they get us purring and rolling on our backs to get our tummy tickled.
This slim volume is one of our favourites, dating from 1929 originally, but in its eleventh imprint, from 1956. It's got a great selection of typefaces, grouped into categories which include THE SERIF, SHADOW and UNUSUAL STYLES.
The introduction includes the following explanation of the importance of typography:
In modern practice, lettering has become part of a power of publicity and propaganda. So much depends on lettering to convey the meaning, the emotion, or even the atmosphere that it has become a work which at all times calls for thought, skill, and originality.
Lettering is like the voice of the elocutionist. It can portray joy and melancholia, it can shout or whisper, it can be loud and blatant or soft and refined. It can strike a note of urgency or of restraint; and these are the qualities which the modern advertiser and user of lettering wishes to employ.
One of the tastiest samples in the book is this version of Gill Sans Bold Titling. Gill Sans was designed at the end of the 1920s by Eric Gill, mainly inspired by the Johnston typeface designed by Edward Johnston for the London Electric Railway Company around 1916 (and still in use as the typeface for all of London Transport).
It's a lovely weight of Gill Sans, with a rather distinct Q and J. The tail of the uppercase Q in Gill Sans generally stays outside of the counter, and the uppercase J normally sits below the baseline. It's possible that this is just an earlier version of Gill Sans, and that the Q and J changed as the typeface developed. Any typophiles out there who can help us with this?
Since it would be wrong not to, we'll leave you with a typeface from the UNUSUAL STYLES section, and so this is Christmas.