Posted in Publication, Theory

Type Matters! | Jim Williams





The following text is (Jim Williams own words) taken from the book and explains how the book originated and how it came to be published



My passion for type was born while I was studying for my A level in Technical Drawing. The teacher, Mr Dykes, ran a small letterpress workshop at the school and would leave on his desk proofs for small bits of jobbing printing. Unsurprisingly, I found the contents of his desk far more interesting than my struggle with the mathematics of designing gears and ratios. Thank you, Mr Dykes!

I went on to study graphics and typography at what is now the University of Central Lancashire, but was at that time Preston Polytechnic, and had the good fortune to be taught typography by Alan Livingston and Ben Casey.

After graduating, I immediately went to work for one of London’s most respected advertising typographers, the late Maggie Lewis, who was known as the queen of type. This feisty lady had a fearsome reputation for typographic excellence but, on occasion, would bake apple crumbles for me. I think she was concerned that this shy young lad from Liverpool wasn’t eating properly.

My grounding in classic 1980s advertising typography was completed with spells at Steve Legate’s studio and working under Len Cheeseman at Collett Dickenson Pearce. Perhaps my time in advertising is one of the reasons I love big type so much, and it has informed my approach to typography ever since.

Type Matters! came about when I was asked by a design company in Manchester to give a series of talks, one of which was about tips that could help its designers with day-to-day typography. The presentation sat on my desktop for several months afterwards, and when I returned to Staffordshire University (where I lecture part-time) after the summer break, I spoke to the awards manager, Barbara Ridley, about the presentation and the merits of it being printed for use by our students. With her usual enthusiasm and friendly encouragement, Barbara managed to find the funds for its production.

It was then featured by Creative Review, and that was when I discovered the amount of interest in this subject. I began receiving requests for copies from all over the world. Many of the people who subsequently sent me feedback said they found it easy to understand and encouraged me to think about developing it into a book.

Many things have informed the content of Type Matters!, including what I have learned from the people with whom I’ve worked, the glaring mistakes I’ve seen and the questions I’ve most commonly been asked by students. I hope you find it useful.

Jim Williams



Publishing Information

Merrell Publishers

Soft flexi binding

160 pages  22 x 17 cm (8.75 x 6.75 in)

ISBN: 978-1-8589-4567-5


Published April 2012



The book looks stunning. Love the backstory also.


Looks like an invaluable read for anyone interested in type, design, art direction or just loves letterforms.


[…] 2012 I found this article on this beautiful book “Type Matters!” by Jim Williams on typetoken yesterday. Looking at this, I can imagine lots of amateurs becoming interested in typography. Read […]

Type Matters! | Inspiration Archive

[…] in the preface he wrote for his book. The whole preface is available online at typetoken®: see “Type Matters! | Jim Williams” by David Watson (May 2, 2012). At the same link, one can find nice photos of the book’s page […]

Type Matters! by Jim Williams (2012)

I’d certainly look through this type book.


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