Codex journal

Joshua Langman's picture

Just got my copy of John Boardley's Codex journal, issue 2. There is some wonderful stuff in there, though there's also a lot of very sloppy proofreading, including misspelling names of contributors, and other typos. There are also some small typographical quirks, like putting people's initials in small caps in running text and hyphenating ragged text, that look a bit strange to me. The book reviews are good, and I'm about to jump into the extensive Menhart section that comprises most of this issue.

Has anyone else taken a look at this?

5star's picture

Thanks for the review JL. I'm glad I didn't preorder a copy.

misspelling names of contributors

I'll order version 2 ...your copy will become a collectors item no doubt :)


John Hudson's picture

...hyphenating ragged text, that look a bit strange to me.

That can be legitimate. It is what is known as a soft rag, as opposed to a hard rag, but it should be done judiciously, either manually or with careful setting of hyphenation options, and only to avoid extreme differences in line length resulting from hard rag.

Sorry to hear about the proofreading issues.

My copy has not arrived yet.

hrant's picture

Neil, based on how they handled the first issue it's unlikely they'll reprint it (with or without corrections). In fact it's pretty much guaranteed it'll sell out and you'll be stuck buying the PDF version.

Ergo: don't wait - it's worth it even with typos.


5star's picture

I'll meet you halfway, I'll snag a copy with the addendum.


Arthus's picture

I liked it, but found the quality a bit lacking in repro. The Menhart bit has some very sloppy and unclear quoting which is confusing to read and makes weird design. In all I also found the design a bit dull with the beautiful content. I mean, quite often the tension between the images, text and elements (colored blocks etc) was just off.

Such as with the cover, I know the reason for it, but pick one, type or photograph, and work further from that. Codex doesn't need tabloid-shop covers to sell, so make the most of it, hardly any other magazine designer (unless you count special subscriber versions) has that freedom.

These are nitpicks though, so far I've enjoyed the content a lot and it has kept me reading (and looking!) for the last evenings.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I have yet to do a thorough look through and comparison – which I think I am going to do – but I will tell you that the first issue was edited and put together by John and Carolyn Wood with design by Working Format and editorial assistance by Allen Tan. This new issue was edited and put together by John and Paul Shaw with design by Linda Florio and Allen returning as editorial assistant.

eliason's picture

I haven't yet seen it. With Paul Shaw on the team (whose Blue Pencil blog entries are exhaustively critical of published errors), I'm surprised to hear of proofreading failures.'s picture

My copy arrived yesterday. Shabby carton box, no protective plastic foil wrapper; so beware if yours arrives when it rains.

I was in love with the first issue. It’s been a while…

Very nice magazine, probably one of the best typography periodicals. Like the academic–designer mix.

I find the coated stock a somewhat unhappy choice, though. Prepress on the images could have been better. Liked the overall design of the first issue better.

Anyway, hope to see a long and glorious future for Codex!

marcox's picture

Ordered my copy today.

dezcom's picture

Still waiting for mine to arrive.

Hyphenating ragged right text is pretty normal. Not hyphenating rag text is unusual.

sevag's picture

I received mine today! Compared to the first issue, this edition is much subtle. It is more pleasant to read the text — you might get distracted by colorful illustrations or large alphabets, though. I like the way it smells, but the paper is too light for my taste. Overall, it's something lovely to have, but I don't have the same festive feelings which I had for the first issue. It doesn't have the academic peculiarity which I'd prefer; less images and more text.

Scott-Martin Kosofsky's picture

I am pleased to announce that Codex has been turned into a book series, Codex Studies in Letterforms. The first volume, "The Eternal Letter: Two Millennia of the Classical Roman Capital," will be published by The MIT Press and will appear in mid-February (2015) in North America and in March in the UK and Europe. All subscribers to what was to be Codex 4 will receive a copy of the book free of charge.

John Boardley graciously turned over the keys to Paul Shaw, who remains as the editor. Contributors to this volume include: John and Nicholas Benson, Frank E. Blokland, Matthew Carter, Father Edward M. Catich, Ewan Clayton, Lance Hidy, Jost Hochuli, Jonathan Hoefler, Richard Kindersley, Scott-Martin Kosofsky, Gerry Leonidas, Martin Majoor, Steve Matteson, Gregory MacNaughton, James Mosley, Tom Perkins, Yves Peters, Ryan L. Roth, Werner Schneider, Paul Shaw, Julian Waters, Maxim Zhukov. Linda Florio is the designer and I am the producer and co-editor.

If you enjoyed Codex, the magazine, you'll find the books bigger, better, richer, and utterly essential. Work is underway on the next two volumes, on the themes of Modernism and Neoclassicism. They will appear in 2016 and 2017.

hrant's picture

Thanks for the update! All sounds quite titillating.


Scott-Martin Kosofsky's picture

The Type Directors Club is hosting the launch event for "The Eternal Letter," the first volume in the new Codex Studies in Letterforms series, on February 19th, at 6:00 pm. Here's the link. I hope to meet some of you there.

Scott-Martin Kosofsky's picture

I am pleased to announce the publication of The Eternal Letter: Two Millennia of the Classical Roman Capital, edited by Paul Shaw and published by The MIT Press. It is the first in an annual series called "Codex Studies in Letterforms." The books will be available wherever books are sold in the U.S. next week, a couple of weeks later in Canada, sometime in March in the U.K. and Europe, and in April in Asia and Australia. It can be ordered now on the various Amazon sites.

The series is the outcome of the late Codex magazine. As the magazine had become more ambitious and more focused on themes, turning it into a book series made the best sense; the headaches of distribution and shipping would taken up by others, freeing us to concentrate on content. We've also had generous support from Adobe/Typekit, Monotype, Mark Simonson Studio, and Courier Corporation. The terrific John Boardley signed over the keys to Paul, who's now running it with Linda Florio, the designer, and me as producer, coeditor, and general impresario. Paul and I are longtime friends and I was producer of the MIT Press edition of his Helvetica and the New York City Subway System.

What distinguishes this book from most other books about type and letterforms is that its authors—there are 24 of them—are largely master craftsmen, including many of the leading type designers, stonecarvers, and letterers of our time mixed with serious historians. The contributors include John and Nicholas Benson (in a deeply informative conversation with Richard Kindersley), Frank E. Blokland (on the transition from Classical letterforms to type), Matthew Carter (on the making of his Mantinia type), Ewan Clayton (on Eric Gill's capitals), Lance Hidy (on his Penumbra type), Jost Hochuli (on Walter Kaech), Jonathan Hoefler (on Requiem), Scott-Martin Kosofsky (on the birth of Adobe Trajan), Gerry Leonidas (on Adobe Trajan Greek), Martin Majoor (on Jan van Krimpen's capitals), Steve Matteson (on Goudy's inscriptional letters), Gregory MacNaughton (on Father Edward M. Catich), James Mosley (on the Renaissance revivals of Classical letterforms), Werner Schneider (on his Senatus type), Julian Waters (on Waters titling), Maxim Zhukov (on the Trajan letter in the Soviet Union), Yves Peters (on Trajan at the movies), and Paul Shaw on very many things.

It's a big book, well printed and bound (hardcover), with well over 400 illustrations—full color throughout—including many things that haven't been seen in print before.

We're working on the next two volumes: Aspects of Typographic Modernism (2016) and a book about Neoclassicism, concentrating on new research about Bodoni and his circle (2017). And we've mapped out five further volumes. Our aim is to publish serious work on serious typographic and lettering subjects. We are eager to hear your opinions and ideas.

AND . . . there will be launch event at the Type Directors Club, New York City, on Thursday, February 19th, 6:00-8:30 pm. Admission is free (thanks to MIT Press), but they ask that you register in advance, so we don't run out of food and drink, especially drink.

hrant's picture

Mouth-watering! I haven't bought a [significant] book on type in a while (and in the past I raided the UCLA library regularly :-) but this is clearly a must-have.

Suggestion for a future volume: non-Latin type.


Scott-Martin Kosofsky's picture

Thanks for that, Hrant! I think it will live up to your expectations.

I'm entirely with you on the non-Latin volume. As you know, my work in Hebrew is in some ways parallel to yours in Armenian. Paul and I have discussed just such a book, and your name was certainly on our lips. But on the schedule we have now, it wouldn't come up for about six years. It's worth revisiting. There's no restriction for keeping it to one book per year; the problem is logistical. We should have a serious talk, you and I.


hrant's picture

I'm glad –and not surprised– that you've already thought of doing a volume dedicated to non-Latin. But at the rate non-Latin is becoming mainstream in the type world, six years would be like a lifetime! :-)

BTW do come to a Granshan conference if you get a chance. This year's will be in Reading, UK from July 23 to 25.


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