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Typography is everywhere around us. It’s on our cell phones, computers, magazines, books, buildings, etc. Some typography gets our attention while others go unnoticed. But what exactly is typography? According to Merriam-Webster, typography is “the style, arrangement, or appearance of typeset matter.” Typography is particularly important to graphic designers because it affects the way a targeted audience sees their designs. Great typography successfully blends art and science together to reach a purpose or convey a message. The following typography books are books that every graphic designer should read.
In these books, the authors delve into the history of typography, creating your own typography, and so much more. Each of the books would be a good addition to any designer’s library.
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1.Design Elements, Typography Fundamentals – A Graphic Style Manual for Understanding How Typography Affects Design
Kristin Cullen is an award-winning graphic designer, educator, and author who resides in Boise, Idaho. In her book, Design Elements, Cullen talks about the ways that typography affects design. The book consists of five chapters. Cullen details the main elements of typography (characters, measures, and styles). Also, you’ll learn about the terminology of the parts of type.
In addition, Cullen talks about the framework of types describing the anatomy of letterforms such as the baseline and x-height. You’ll learn about typefaces along with their categories and subcategories. In the book, Cullen defines typeface as “the consistent design, or distinct visual form, of a type family.” Additionally, you’ll discover ways to select good typefaces and to combine typefaces. One suggestion Cullen gives for selecting a good typeface is to “look for legible, well-proportioned, and acutely crafted characters.”
Throughout the book, Cullen shows examples of effective typographic work. There are also quotes from the designers of the works. And, Cullen has them to explain their reasons for using certain typefaces. Other things you can learn from this book are typesetting factors such as spacing and alignment and structuring typefaces.
2. Type Rules: The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography (4th Edition)
Ilene Strizver is the founder of The Type Studio in Westport, Connecticut. She’s also a typographic educator, designer, and author. In Ilene’s book, Type Rules, she talks about the history of typography from the beginning of humankind to the present Digital Age. The book contains thirteen chapters. One of the things you’ll learn is about the technology used to create fonts. For example, you’ll discover (if you didn’t know) that Adobe Systems created Type 1 (PostScript Type 1) in the mid-1980s. In addition, you’ll learn about the different type categories (Serif, Sans Serif, Scripts, and Handwriting).
Moreover, Strizver talks about her methods for choosing the right type. Her methods include knowing your audience, knowing the size of your typeface, and knowing the color of your type. Aside from letters, Strizver also details how to use figures, fractions, numbers, symbols, signs, and dingbats in typography. Additionally, you’ll learn about web safe fonts that can be used on Mac and PC browsers. Finally, Strizver explains how to design your own typefaces. She talks about creating handwritten fonts and how to draw or rough sketch your design and scan it.
At the end of each chapter, you’ll find exercises that will help you to implement what you’ve read and learned. Plus, there are Tech Tips throughout the book. These tips show you how to use the typographic principles and techniques discussed in design software such as Adobe InDesign.
3. Logo, Font and Lettering Bible
Leslie Cabarga is an author, an illustrator, an animator, a cartoonist, a publication designer, and a font designer. In his book Logo, Font and Lettering Bible, you’ll learn about logos and typography. Although this book is a little bit older than the other typography books, it’s filled with useful tips and facts. The book is divided into four parts. The first part is all about logos. You’ll learn about some of the types of logos such as literal logos, monogrammatic logos, abstract logos, and retro logos. Cabarga shows examples of each type of logo throughout the section. And, he shows you how to create logos using three simple steps.
In the second part of the book, Cabarga talks about drawing letters. You’ll get a history lesson on the ways lettering was created. There’s also a snippet in the book about the creator of the Bézier curve, Pierre Bézier. In addition, Cabarga talks about calligraphy.
The third part of the book is all about fonts. You’ll learn about the different rules and procedures for creating letterforms. Cabarga has a chart in this section that displays the character layout of the standard Roman font. This font is used in font editing software such as Font Lab. In addition, Cabarga details how to use Fontographer to create fonts.
In the fourth part of the book, Cabarga discusses the business side of logos, fonts, and lettering. Cabarga teaches you how to sell the logos, fonts, and letters you create. Also, you’ll know how to find and obtain clients. Additionally, Cabarga gives tips on pricing your designs.
After reading these typography books, you’ll realize the importance typography plays in our everyday lives. Plus, you might find yourself wanting to become a typographer. Or, at the very least, if you’re like me, you’ll turn into a font collector!
For more book recommendations, check out this list of 7 graphic design books for designers.