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On the Importance of Fonts - Bellefaire, and Why We Chose It as Our "Signature" Font

If you are like most readers, you probably don't give fonts a lot of thought. When one is reading a book of poetry, or a novel, one is generally reading for meaning, after all, not form, and unless the font is awful - unreadable, say, or dated, kitschy, or downright ugly, the average reader is unlikely to notice the font the book is printed in. At Shack Simple Press, however, we are not publishing books for "average readers." From the very beginning, we have been careful to reflect upon the fact that a book is a physical object, capable of being beautiful or ugly in its own right. We have also tried to keep in mind that the meaning of each text is conveyed by printed physical marks on paper, and these reflections have led us here at Shack Simple Press to believe that the quality, character, elegance, and readability of the font used subconsciously contributes to the overall beauty and pleasure that a book provides its readers. We don't want our readers to simply see our books as a vehicle for ideas or a good story. Ideally, we want them to like the book itself - to find it pleasing to the eye, and a pleasure to hold. There are many elements that must unite to create this simple pleasure - cover design, quality of paper, care of binding, and so forth, but we felt that one of the simplest ways for us, as a new publisher, to establish a note of originality and to express our peculiar aesthetic commitments, was in the selection and purchase of a font for use in our publications. We wanted a font that was readable, simple, and quietly elegant; distinctive and elevating, without calling any particular attention to itself. In the end, we went with Bellefaire, a serif-style Latin font developed by Nick Shinn, and later augmented for use in Hebrew manuscripts. We wanted a Serif font, to provide a hint of elegance, and to suggest the great classical typefonts of the last century - but we also wanted it to be simple, and without exaggeration. The Bellefaire font (lit. "beautiful doing/making") traditional but with a nod to minimalist modern sensibilities, fit the bill perfectly. Our new imprint, Zoom and the Neanderthal Girl, was printed using this type font throughout, with the exception of the more dramatic cover title, where we made use of the calligraphic ink-pen stroke lines of the ITC Tempus Sans, designed by British designer Phill Grimshaw, to capture the exotic nature of the book's title. Here's Bellefaire. Isn't it beautiful?


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