Typophile Books: Essential Reading



Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students

by Ellen Lupton
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Paperback: 176 pages
ISBN: 1568984480
Price: $13.57  Buy It!

See also: http://www.papress.com/thinkingwithtype/

Reviewed by Norris Hung:
This was a great book recommended to me by a grad student in graphic design at RISD. I read through it in 2 days and thought it was a great introduction to type and all of its aspects while still valuable for professionals in the field. As it so clearly states in its first lines, it is not a book about fonts but how and when to use them. The book is divided into three sections. The first section describes letters - the history, the anatomy, and the look. The second section details "text" - layout design, white space, narrative vs nonlinearity, etc. Lastly, the third section outlines the infamous "grid." Ella Lupton combines just the right amount of witty humor with her clear expertise with makes this textbook, essential, very readable and enjoyable.

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20th Century Type: Remix

by Lewis Blackwell
Publisher: Gingko Press; Illustrated edition (August 2001)
Paperback: 192 pages
ISBN: 392725889X
Price: $27.97  Buy It!

Reviewed by Joe Pemberton:
This is an excellent book. While it is not a comprehensive reference, the visual samples are generous and well paced. The historical commentary is well-informed and moderately thorough and provides an enjoyable read. My only complaint is that it only covers the twentieth century!

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Counterpunch: Making Type in the Sixteen Century,
Designing Typefaces Now

by Fred Smeijers, Robin Kinross
Publisher: Chronicle Books; (February 1997)
Paperback: 184 pages
ISBN: 0907259065
Price: $28.00  Buy it!

Reviewed by Joe Pemberton:
Smeijers brings relevance to modern (digital) type design by illustrating the nuances of designing with metal. Much more than a history lesson, this book sheds light on the assumptions and process of our predecessors in a way that challenges our thinking about designing with modern, digital tools. Smeijers finishes with a call to designers to embrace the current media and push the boundaries of past conventions.

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The Elements of Typographic Style

by Robert Bringhurst
Publisher: Hartley & Marks; 2nd edition (January 1997)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN: 0881791326
Price: $20.97  Buy It!

Reviewd by William Berkson:
Few books deserve the name 'great', but this is one. The author brings a combination of eloquence, learning, and passion for excellence, and the result is a stunning achievement. This work seems to be at the top of everyone's lists of books in typography.
      One of the book's greatest strengths is also a weakness, though. Bringhurst has the classical taste in art - a taste that treasures the rare combination of serenity and elation, and the works of art that give us this feeling.
     Following this taste, he perceptively separates out the Romantic elements that we have come to accept as normal, such as bold fonts, grotesque style sans, wide pages, and the em dash. And he revives and highlights the classical views of proportion and design in typography.
      All of this provides a powerful new standard of excellence for book typography - and books are really Bringhurst's focus.
      The weakness of this book is that the Romantic taste does indeed have its place, and this taste is neglected. Not only advertising, but also any short material is often best served by typography that is not serene, but rather provocative. What would quickly become tiresome in a book can be delightful in smaller doses, and a different context.
      I share Bringhurst's classical tastes, so to me the neglect of advertising and the Romantic side of typography is no big loss. The Romantic taste is to be found everywhere else, so this book is a rare treasure: an exploration of the classical taste in an art that affects everyone.

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FontBook
[Digital Typeface Compendium]

Editors Mai Linh Thi Truong, Jürgen Siebert, Erik Spiekermann
Publisher: FSI FontShop International; (2006)
Hardcover: 1760 pages
Price: $99.00  Buy It!

Reviewed by Joe Pemberton:
This six pound volume is the most comprehensive typeface reference book ever compiled - worthy of its self proclaimed 'compendium' status. It is also surprisingly usable.
     Each typeface entry provides info about its history, the designers and platforms for which the face is available as well as a "see also" feature that allows you to find similar faces.

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Marks of Excellence:
The History and Taxonomy of Trademarks

by Per Mollup
Publisher: Phaidon Press Inc.; (April 1999)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN: 0714838381
Price: $24.50  Buy It!


Review by Paulus:
I bought this book because I was working on a CID and although I think we are currently moving away from these 'Single-Logo' branding ideas, this book was really resourceful and helped a lot to get my head around the subject. A good buy for any sound graphic design library.

Reviewed by P. Shecter R.G.D.
Per Mollerup [from the cover] has created a fantastic volume on trademarks, wordmarks and logos. If you own the Elements of Typographic Style, then this book should sit right next to it on your book shelf. Mollerup includes a comprehensive taxonomy on logotypes and logograms. There are some great tidbits on the creation of different marks. And he discusses how culture plays a key role in the adaption of marks world wide.

Reviewed by Margaret McCullough:
This book is not only a visual treat for the eyes but also brain food for the creative intellect. I originally purchased this book as an accompaniment to a course I took on the history of mark making. Unlike many books bought for academic use, this one has remained above my desk, significant for a book designer. It takes the reader through the origin and evolution of trademarks as well as some lovely tidbits about their creation and individual transformations over the years. Any dryness in the copy is more than made up for by this books elegance and format. A must have for any designer.

Reviewed by DesignMaven:
The great feature of this book [is that] it discusses Semiotics and Semantics which are Essential and Integral in the Best Identities. e.g. SAUL BASS, PAUL RAND, LESTER BEALL, DON ERVIN, and the first 30 years of Lippincott & Margulies; Landor and Siegel & Gale.
     However, current in the Seminal works of Pentagram and BrandEquity International (others). Unfortunatetly, Semiotics and Semantics are overlooked in the today's Identity Projects. Not taught in today's classroom.
      Another strength of this book. It strives to accurately Identify the Original Creators of the Identity Design. If this book has a weakness. It is because it was not continued as a series.

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Paul Renner: The Art of Typography

by Christopher J. Burke
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; (January 1999)
Paperback: 220 pages
ISBN: 1568981589
Price: $24.50  Buy It!

Reviewed by http://typophile.com/user/2021">Nick Shinn:
What fascinates me most about typography is the sheer amount of meaning contained in a typeface. A quantum hologram, the more you look the more you find.
     No one has looked harder than Chris Burke, here. This is a heavy-duty piece of scholarship written by a type designer. And what a story, putting type design at the centre of world events and contextualizing it with respect to everything: the designer's personal life, his design work and teaching, technology, politics, culture, business, and so on. All the details of Renner's life illuminate Futura, including those that happened many years after he designed it.
     As a type designer, I found reading this to be very empowering, giving great relevance to a geeky, obscure pursuit.

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Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use

by Daniel Berkeley Updike
Publisher: Oak Knoll Books; (September 2001)
Hardcover: 329 pages
ISBN: 1584560568
Price: $85.00  Buy It!

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Soak Wash Rinse Spin: Tolleson Design

by Steven Tolleson
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; (April 4, 2000)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN: 1568981988
Price: $31.50   Buy It!


Reviewed by Ole Sorensen:
This is one of my favorite books on branding. The work of Tolleson Design is exceptional and this book is truly on par with the work they do for their clients. Buy it!

Reviewed by Joe Pemberton:
This book goes beyond the typical portfolio book that many mature firms are putting out these days. It goes into great depth discussing the branding/identity problems at hand and showing the extensive explorations that led up to the final solution.

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A View of Early Typography: Up To About 1600

by Harry Carter, James Mosley (Introduction)
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; (June 2002)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN: 0907259219
Price: $24.50  Buy It!

Reviewed by Fritz Park:
This is essential reading! A must for all typography enthusiasts! A series of lectures given by Carter with a nice overview as well as corrections from Mosley.

Thoughtful as well as insightful. Although dated. It would seem however, that is the point though!

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