Welcome to a curated journey through the world of typography. Whether you’re a budding designer, a seasoned typographer, or simply a lover of beautiful lettering, understanding typography is key to appreciating and mastering the art of design.
In this blog post, we delve into a collection of the best books about typography, each offering a unique perspective and invaluable insights into this fascinating field.
From an historical overview to a graphic guide, these good books are a treasure trove of knowledge, inspiration, and typographic wisdom.
What are the best books about typography?
If you’re seeking the best resources to deepen your understanding of typography, look no further. This blog post compiles a list of the most insightful and influential books about typography.
Covering a range of topics from the basics of typography, page layout for print and web, to the intricacies of font creation and the history of letterforms, these books are quintessential for anyone passionate about typography and writing.
Each book in our list has been carefully selected for its depth of content, quality of information, and ability to inspire and educate.
Top 5 Typography books
Discover the quintessence of typographic wisdom with our selection of the 5 best Typography books. Each book is a treasure trove of knowledge, artfully blending theory examples and practical application.
These best typography books will not only deepen your understanding of type but also refine your skills in graphic design and typography. Let’s explore these fonts that have shaped the world of typography.
Best book for graphic designers Overall (Editor’s Choice)
“Designing With Type” by James Craig is more than just a book; it’s a journey and graphic guide through the art of typographic design.
This fully updated fifth edition, supported by the informative website, invites both students and teachers to explore a plethora of design solutions and a wealth of typographic information.
Having sold over 250,000 copies since its first publication over thirty-five years ago, this timeless textbook has now been rejuvenated with full color and contemporary content.
It stands as an indispensable and “design classic” resource, educating and inspiring a new generation of designers with its blend of practical advice and historical insight.
Designing With Type by James Craig is more than just a book; it's a journey and graphic guide through the art of typography.
Best book for typographic design
“On Web Typography” by Jason Santa Maria is a concise yet comprehensive exploration of typographic principles for the web.
This good book, one of the more succinct typography books available, provides an excellent overview of the basics while introducing fresh concepts not found in other texts.
The ‘How We Read’ section, accessible online for free, is especially enlightening. For designers focused on web-based typography, this book serves as an essential guide, offering a straightforward and enlightening approach to mastering typography.
Best book for visual history of typography
“The Elements of Typographic Style“, authored by renowned typographer and poet Robert Bringhurst, is a masterful blend of theory, practice, and history.
This interesting graphic design guide has become an essential resource for graphic artists and editors, advocating for excellence in digital and traditional typography.
As a mainstay in American university presses and a standard text in many design studios globally, this two volume book by Robert Bringhurst delves deep into the nuances of typeface design, making it a cornerstone for understanding typographic styles and examples.
4. A Type Primer (2nd Edition)
Best book for classifying typefaces
“A Type Primer“, published in its second edition, serves as an essential introduction to the principles and applications of typography.
Author John Kane enriches this edition with added content on digital type, type setting, color in typographic hierarchy, and an enhanced section on grid systems.
Accompanied by an informative website, this book also offers a concise historical timeline of typography, illustrated examples, and practical exercises. It’s an engaging and invaluable resource for all designers and students of graphic design and typography.
Best book for typography inspiration
“The Anatomy of Type” by Stephen Coles, published in 2012, is a detailed exploration of one hundred traditional and modern typefaces.
The book dedicates full spreads to each typeface, highlighting key characteristics and anatomical details with annotated enlargements.
It not only offers comprehensive information on typeface designers, foundries, and available weights and styles but also serves as a visual celebration of these typefaces.
With its vibrant color displays and in-depth analysis, this book is a must-have for anyone passionate about the intricacies of typeface design context.
The Anatomy of Type by Stephen Coles is a detailed exploration of one hundred traditional and modern typefaces.
More Typography Books
Delve deeper into the world of typography with more exceptional books that offer unique insights and perspectives. These additional reads continue to shed light on the art and science of typography, making them invaluable additions to any designer’s library of resources.
6. Just My Type
“Just My Type” is a captivating exploration into the world of fonts, chronicling their rich history and the reasons behind their myriad forms. Simon Garfield examines the stories behind various typefaces, from the functionality of Times New Roman to the controversial Comic Sans.
This great book delves into the historical aspects and origins, usage, and the reasons we are drawn to certain fonts over others.
Simon Garfield’s mission to uncover these stories is a journey that reveals the best and worst fonts in existence, making this one book a compelling read for designers and typophiles alike.
“An Essay On Typography” by Eric Gill is a seminal work in the field, blending opinion, philosophy, and design in a compelling manifesto. Gill, a noted sculptor and typeface designer, argues that good typography is as aesthetically pleasing as any art form.
The book delves into the role of typography in culture and celebrates craftsmanship in an industrial age. Gill’s profound insights, combined with his experience in creating classic typefaces, make this work a critical piece of reading for understanding the deeper implications of typography.
“The New Typography” by Jan Tschichold is recognized as a groundbreaking work on graphic and book design in the modern era. Originally published in Berlin in 1928, it brings a fresh perspective on design, marrying practicality with aesthetic elegance.
The English edition, enriched with an introduction by Robin Kinross, offers a comprehensive look at Tschichold’s life and work.
Hendel’s foreword in the latest edition reflects current thinking, making it an essential resource for understanding the evolution of modern typographic style.
The New Typography by Jan Tschichold is recognized as a groundbreaking work on graphic and book design in the modern era.
“Designing Type” by Karen Cheng is an invaluable resource for understanding the creation and application of type. In this expanded edition, Cheng delves deeper into digital type, type setting, color, and grid systems.
The book not only discusses the technicalities of type design but also the artistic considerations, making it a comprehensive guide for students and professionals.
With its blend of theory and practical application, “Designing Type” is essential for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of typography.
10. Why Fonts Matter
“Why Fonts Matter” delves into the psychological impact of fonts on reading and perception. Sarah Hyndman explores how different typefaces can evoke various emotions, alter perceptions, and even influence tastes.
This complete manual is a journey into the hidden world of typefaces, revealing their power to shape our understanding and experiences.
Hyndman’s insights into the sensory experiences of typefaces make this book a fascinating read for designers, marketers, and anyone intrigued by the influence of typography.
11. Thinking With Type (2nd Edition)
Coming after the success of the first edition, “Thinking With Type” by Ellen Lupton is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication. The book covers everything from typefaces and families to alignment, spacing, and grid use.
This second edition expands on typographic design essentials, providing clear guidance on typographic form and how to break the rules creatively.
Lupton’s book is not just a manual but a graphic guide and source of inspiration, making it a staple in the library of every designer and typophile.
Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication.
What is Typography?
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and visually appealing. It involves the selection of typefaces, point sizes, type specimens, line spacing, line lengths, spacing of the letters, and the adjustment of space between pairs of letters.
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In this exploration of the best books on typography, we’ve journeyed through a curated collection of titles that focus a mix of historical insight, practical guidance, and aesthetic exploration.
From the foundational principles in “Designing With Type” to the psychological implications in “Why Fonts Matter,” these best typography books provide valuable knowledge for graphic designers, typophiles, and anyone with a passion for the written word.
As we close this collection, remember that the world of graphic design and typography is ever-evolving, inviting us to keep learning and experimenting with this vital aspect of graphic design.