The anatomy of letters

Everything you could ever want to know about printing letters and numbers

Looking back as far as man’s first efforts to communicate with visual signs and drawings, Letter Fountain is a completely unique typeface handbook: in addition to examining the form and anatomy of every letter in the alphabet (as well as punctuation marks and special characters), the book cross-references type designs with important works of art and art movements from Gutenberg’s times until today. Further attention is given to the esthetics of the digital age and typographical recommendations such as the choice of the right typeface for a job. Rounding out the guide are an in-depth comparison between sans-serif and serif typefaces, an essay about measuring systems and indications, advice about typographic rules, plus a manual for developing digital fonts.

Over 150 typefaces, their origins, and font characteristics are discussed in detail, visually explained by full page tables including scale, weight, and useful alternatives. The extensive appendix contains a general index, a typeface index (more than 300 are depicted in the book), an index of over 250 type designers, an exhaustive index of type foundries, a graphical dictionary, and a bibliography for further reading.

The original Dutch edition Letterfontein received a Certificate for Typographic Excellence from Type Directors Club New York (TDC) in 2010, and a red-dot design award from the Design Zentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

Special features include:
  • thoroughly hardbound in half linen with three ribbon bookmarks
  • 144 pages appendix with resourceful glossary and indices
  • convenient typographic ruler with conversions between four measurement systems and hidden shortcuts for your Apple keyboard!

Whether you own the book or are interested to learn more, please visit:
The editor and author:
Joep Pohlen is a graphic designer, devoted with heart and soul to professional typography. With his colleague and friend Geert Setola he founded Dutch Fontana Publishers in 1994 and together they published their first edition of Letterfontein. From 2002 to 2010 Joep Pohlen rewrote most of the contents and enhanced the book to 640 pages. He has won several book design awards on typography and art.
Letter Fountain

Letter Fountain

Joep Pohlen
Hardcover, 6.6 x 9.4 in., 640 pages
$ 69.99

Online not available
  • Reviews
"Even as publishing marches into the Kindle’s cold clutches, publishers are exploring the unique qualities of print. TASCHEN’s Letter Fountain is a gorgeous, borderline excessive celebration of the many riches of typography."
— Time Out Chicago, Chicago, United States
  • FAQ - Frequently asked questions
Reader's Question: Could you tell me, does Letterfountain include information about websites where I can download the fonts discussed?

Joep Pohlen: Letter Fountain has extensive indexes and one of them is the Index of typefaces and another is the Index of type designers. In both indexes you will find the foundries behind each typeface mentioned in the book. With that information you can easily find a distributor on the internet.
Above that I can give you a couple of internet links were you can find most of the typefaces:
For finding similar fonts you can look at
There are many more but on these sites you will find 99% of the quality fonts presented in Letter Fountain, also those from individual designers and small foundries.
  • See also
FUSE 1–20
FUSE 1–20
Flexicover with posters in box, online font library, 6.7 x 8.6 in., 416 pages
$ 59.99
Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles
Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles
Softcover, 2 vols. with keycard in slipcase, 9.4 x 12.0 in., 720 pages
New edition, only $ 59.99
Original edition $ 119.98