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20 Best Typography Books Every Designer Should Read

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Packages on store shelves, print advertising with typographic arts, pages of a website, typography posters on building walls — all contain information that needs to be communicated. And at the heart of that communication is type: visually interesting, interactive, expressive and captivating. Each letter must come alive; therefore, each letter must be carefully crafted or chosen.

Typefaces are now 560 years old, but we barely knew their names until about twenty years ago, when the pull-down font menus on our first computers made us all the gods of type. Students and professionals in any creative field can benefit from a good typographic eye. Like these design quotes visualized using typographic design, you’ll not only understand the quotation but also the typefaces behind the posters.

A solid foundation in typography, as well as an understanding of its nuances, will help you optimize your visual communication — in whatever form it takes. You can never learn too much about typography. In order for designers to improve their craft, the best way to achieve it is to study type, take a type class, or buy typography books which are intended to advance their progress seeking to deepen their typographic expertise.

Whether you’re already a font aficionado or can’t tell the difference between Times New Roman and Arial, these typography books will introduce you to the entertaining history and the basics of typography that will give you a greater appreciation of the typefaces that surround you every day.

Recommended: Basics of Typography and Tips on How to Make a Good One

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Best Typography Books Collection

Here’s a collection of best typography books – a perfect companion for anyone who cares about type from the experienced pro to the beginning student. If there is one experience that any graphic designer can relate to, it’s the quest for the perfect typeface. The right typeface communicates the visual essence of the content while enhancing the impact of the overall design.

New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital Age

Now the world’s foremost historian of graphic design presents New Vintage Type, a remarkable rethinking and rediscovery of old and classic typefaces for today’s modern needs. Hundreds of amazing, astounding, and obscure examples from around the world are gathered here, organized into five historically and stylistically grouped sections: the Victorian Age, the Woodtype Era, Art Deco Style, Modern Movement, and the Eccentric Movement.

New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital Age

Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, Vol. 1

This book offers a novel overview of typeface design, exploring the most beautiful and remarkable examples of font catalogs from the history of publishing, with a special emphasis on the period from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, when color catalogs were at their height. Taken from a Dutch collection, this exuberant selection traverses the evolution of the printed letter in all its various incarnations via exquisitely designed catalogs.

Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, Vol. 1

The Complete Manual of Typography: A Guide to Setting Perfect Type

This book is about how type should look and how to make it look that way; in other words, how to set type like a professional. It releases the craft knowledge that used to reside almost exclusively in the heads of people working in type shops. The shops are gone, the technologies have changed, but the goal remains the same. This book explains in very practical terms how to use today’s computerized tools to achieve that secret of good design: well-set type.

The Complete Manual of Typography: A Guide to Setting Perfect Type

The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Typefaces

The Anatomy of Type explores one hundred traditional and modern typefaces in loving detail, with a full spread devoted to each entry. The full character set from each typeface is shown, and the best letters for identification are enlarged and annotated, revealing key features, anatomical details, and the finer, often-overlooked elements of type design.

The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Typefaces

Type Rules!: The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography

Type Rules: The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography, 3rd Edition is an up-to-date, thorough introduction to the principles and practices of typography. From the fundamentals to cutting-edge applications, this edition has everything today’s serious designer needs to use type effectively. Dozens of exercises reinforce authoritative coverage on such topics as how to select the appropriate type for the job, how to set type like a pro, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to design a typeface, as well as how to fully harness the power of major design packages.

Type Rules!: The Designer's Guide to Professional Typography

Typography Sketchbooks

The result of these wide-ranging typographic musings provide fascinating insights into the expressive quality of letters and words. Aimed at all those who use type, whether by hand or on screen, this pleasing compendium stresses the importance of good typography at a time when reading habits are changing and celebrates a craft that has endured for centuries. According to TheAtlantic.com, Typography Sketchbooks is like a visual window into the minds of the world’s most exciting type designers and, in turn, into the intricate art-science of typography itself.

Typography Sketchbooks

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

Simon Garfield’s Just My Type presents an entertaining history of fonts, from font “pirating” dating back nearly as far as Gutenberg to the creation of Comic Sans and Ikea’s font-change controversy. With a variety of recent, news-making examples and font samples throughout, Just My Type explains how and why certain fonts can elicit emotions or gut-instinct reactions. Garfield’s humor and historical anecdotes add to his deep understanding of how something as simple as font choice can speak volumes about our cultural climate–and why it’s so easy to agonize over what font to use on a party invitation.

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

The Elements of Typographic Style

Renowned typographer and poet Robert Bringhurst brings clarity to the art of typography with this masterful style guide. Combining the practical, theoretical, and historical, this edition is completely updated, with a thorough exploration of the newest innovations in intelligent font technology, and is a must-have for graphic artists, editors, or anyone working with the printed page using digital or traditional methods. Anyone serious about typography will want to get this book anyway: not only because it is probably the best in its class, but also because Bringhurst is a master from whom a lot can be learned.

The Elements of Typographic Style

Designing with Type, 5th Edition: The Essential Guide to Typography

The classic Designing with Type has been completely redesigned, with an updated format and full color throughout. New information and new images make this perennial best-seller an even more valuable tool for anyone interested in learning about typography. The fifth edition has been integrated with a convenient website where students and teachers can examine hundreds of design solutions and explore a world of typographic information.

Designing with Type, 5th Edition: The Essential Guide to Typography

Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working with Type

Typography Essentials is a practical, hands-on resource to distill, organize, and compartmentalize-but not to oversimplify-the many complex issues surrounding the effective use of typography. It is for designers of every medium in which type plays a major role. A deep understanding of letter forms and knowledge of the effective use of letterforms can only be obtained with constant observation and experimentation.

Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working with Type

Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design’s Golden Age

Drawn from the Golden Age of scripts, from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, this is the first compilation of popular, rare, and forgotten scripts from the United States, Germany, France, England, and Italy. Featuring examples from a vast spectrum of sources—advertisements, street signs, type-specimen books, and personal letters—this book is a delightful and invaluable trove of long overlooked material.

Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design's Golden Age

Typography (Graphic Design in Context)

This book moves beyond the traditional rules-based approach by describing typography as a system of interrelated concerns heavily influenced by the contexts of audience, medium, and message. It presents the key visual and intellectual skills necessary to make informed design decisions when using typography for modern contexts and audiences and gives full attention to designing with type in digital media.

Typography (Graphic Design in Context)

Exploring Typography (Design Exploration Series)

What do designers need to know about typography? The answer can be found in this richly illustrated book that examines the varied uses of type in contemporary visual communications. Exploring Typography takes a concise but thorough approach to introducing and examining the principles of typography. Coverage begins with a brief history of type and a survey of how type is classified.

Exploring Typography (Design Exploration Series)

Typeface: Classic Typography for Contemporary Design

Typeface includes a unique feature certain to delight designers: a choice of similar typefaces is given for each font, so that alternatives can be easily compared, taking the stress out of tracking down typefaces.

Typeface: Classic Typography for Contemporary Design

Typographic Design: Form and Communication

This Fifth Edition of the bestselling text in the field offers detailed coverage of such essential topicsas the anatomy of letters and type families, typographic syntax and communication, design aesthetics, and designing for legibility. Supplementing these essential topics are theoretical and structural problem-solving approaches by some of the leading design educators across the United States.

Typographic Design: Form and Communication

Mastering Type: The Essential Guide to Typography for Print and Web Design

Through instruction, interviews and real-world inspiration, Mastering Type explores the power of each typographic element–both as it stands alone and as it works with other elements–to create successful design, to strengthen your skill set and to inspire your next project.

Mastering Type: The Essential Guide to Typography for Print and Web Design

Typography: Macro and Microaesthetics

This publication provides artistic and technical instruction for typographic designers, architects, and professionals in allied creative fields. It facilitates a more critical appreciation not only of the mediated foreground, but also of the unscripted background and of the various relationships between them. The approaches to design that are explored in this book can only be expected from someone intimate with the Swiss school of design thought.

Typography: Macro and Microaesthetics

Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips from Top Artists

Hand-lettering techniques are a popular and visually dynamic way to add textual elements to crafts, from journals to mixed-media art. Sixteen accomplished contributors — including calligraphers, painters, collagists, card makers, fiber artists, and graphic designers — give their personal perspectives on lettering. They all offer their favorite tools, how they use them, their signature technique with step-by-step instructions and photos, and an alphabet sampler of their own font.

Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips from Top Artists

A Typographic Workbook: A Primer to History, Techniques, and Artistry

Lavishly illustrated with more than 450 images, A Typographic Workbook, Second Edition explains the process successful designers use to select, space, and creatively integrate fonts. This essential text demonstrates the use of type as a dynamic and expressive communication tool. This edition provides new and updated coverage of a broad range of topics–from a logical, clear historical overview of the craft to the latest digital technologies.

A Typographic Workbook: A Primer to History, Techniques, and Artistry

Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting

Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting (A Visual Textbook for Intermediate to Advanced Typography) is a vast collection of beautiful typesetting examples. Page after page, a brief article by Erik Spiekermann has been set in hundreds of ways in hundreds of typefaces, creating an extended visual taxonomy of typesetting that allows you to learn by looking.

Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting

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Written by Manuel Garcia

Manuel Garcia is the founder and the brain behind Designrshub.com, a community that provides High Quality Design Inspirations and Resources. He’s a student from Philippines who loves to write for design community and dedicated in sharing inspirational resources. He fell in love with creative writing when he was 15.

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