I wanted to keep the book simple to navigate. All chapters are neatly cut up in two-page sections, each focusing on a specific subject or phenomenon. This is the double-page spread about logos. The examples were not merely selected because of their visual attraction or aesthetics, but because each represents specific motives and strategies in conceiving and developing a trademark.

Shaping Text • De Vorm van tekst

Shaping Text is an introduction to typography — for students and young graphic designers, but also for people living outside that sub-culture but are interested in, or troubled by, the aspects of using type. The book started in 2004, when FontShop Benelux asked for a compact guide on the use of typefaces. Things were changing very quickly at the time, both technically and creatively, and I ended up taking too long to finalize the book. It was put on hold.

A couple of years later, BIS Publishers invited me to translate a North-American typographic handbook. I did not find the book ideal for Dutch students — a bit too high-brow and unpractical — and I showed them my own guide, half-finished. BIS agreed to commission me to make that booklet into a more comprehensive handbook.

The technical and creative changes didn’t stop. Hand-lettering became a new trend, web fonts finally became a universal tool — and much more. What I thought would take a couple of years ended up taking six. Being put on the back-burner during my early Berlin years, when I worked for FontShop, LucasFonts, and MyFonts and collaborated to other people’s books, it was finally picked up again in late 2010. A year and a half later, with long days and short nights, and occasional help from friends (and Florian Hardwig contributing a handful of double-page spreads), it was finally done. Some teachers and students find it really useful.

Texts on the front and back cover:

“This book will show you how shaping text can help you grab, hold, direct and manipulate the reader’s attention. Within its pages you will find a wealth of information about reading behaviour, design strategies, typefaces, typesetting, technical challenges and possibilities. This book was written and designed by Jan Middendorp and features hundreds of examples of work by an international selection of designers. Shaping Text is a guide for students, writers, publishers, editors and professional designers — anyone who uses fonts and is curious to know more about typography and how it works in the real world.”

“Shaping text is crucial to the way we communicate in print and on screens. Thanks to the cooperation of an international cast of cutting-edge designers, the arguments put forward in this book are illustrated with brilliant examples. Featuring work by Philippe Apeloig, Marian Bantjes, Irma Boom, Luca Barcellona, Blotto, Wim Crouwel, Sara De Bondt, Catherine Dixon, Gert Dooreman, Studio Dumbar, Emery Studio, EdenSpiekermann, Faydherbe/de Vringer, Nicholas Felton, Piet Gerards, Gray 318, Klaus Hesse, Jessica Hische, House Industries, Enric Jardí, Lava, Anette Lenz / Vincent Perrottet, Seb Lester, Letman, David Pearson, Mark Porter, Ingeborg Scheffers, Nick Sherman, Mark Thomson, Alex Trochut, Büro Uebele, Xplicit and many others.”

Text, image research and design: JM
Editorial and production assistance: Catherine Dal, Anthony Noel, Florian Hardwig, Christine Gertsch
Drawings: Christine Gertsch, Christin Huber, Edgar Walthert
Photography: Eva Czaya, Christine Gertsch, JM
Typefaces: Rooney by Jan Fromm, Agile by Edgar Walthert and the Shire Types by Jeremy Tankard.