writing and design Stephen Banham | Publisher Thames & Hudson Australia | Co-publisher State Library Victoria
Hardback edition (2011) Paperback edition (2017). 272pp plus folded poster jacket.

Characters: Cultural stories revealed through typography proposes that our cities can be read through typography rather than through conventional means such as architecture.

The book centres on the cultural stories behind the letterforms we see everyday in our streets. Using Melbourne as a case study, Characters examines the ways in which letters give us a sense of place and a sense of self. Although the places and experiences may be unique to Melbourne, the broader ‘way of seeing’ is a universal form of storytelling.

Characters offers a new way of looking at the familiar. Along with researcher Christine Eid, this rich selection of stories have been brought to life by Letterbox founder Stephen Banham. The appeal of Characters is deliberately broad – addressing a curiosity about cities, architecture, social history, graphic design and specifically typography.

Thames and Hudson Australia Publisher Pauline De Laveaux jumps for joy during the 2011 launch of Characters.
A behind-the-scenes film of the Characters photo shoots with Jesse Marlow (2011)

In 2017 Thames and Hudson released a more affordable paperback edition of Characters.