As a designer who has a passion for printed publications, I’m constantly finding myself forking out more money than I have on books, magazines and not being able to resist the yearly subscriptions to ensure I get the latest design magazines monthly, quarterly or bi-annually. I’m sure alot of people will agree with me that we can never have too many books or magazines to fill our shelves with.
Even with the influence of internet on how we consume information, many of us are still dedicated readers and collectors of printed publications, therefore I felt that this would be an appropriate time and place to (briefly) review and recommend a few type related publications for all the type enthusiasts! There are so many publications on typography, and I have probably only seen 10% of that, but within that insignificant amount, I have come across a select few that I would consider as being very useful for anyone working with type in design.
So without rambling on anymore, here are 4 publications that I would recommend, all of which are based on different aspects of typography and how I believe they are essential based on my own experience with them.
Grid system in graphic design by Josef Müller-Brockmann
1st published in 1981, this 176 page book by Müller-Brockmann is an essential for anyone who works with type and layout. The book provides readers with a firm foundation and understanding of how to use type and layout with the emphasis on the grid system. Starting with the background information of the typographic grid and moving on to cover the practical and theoretical details of type and layout ranging from the sizes of paper to a detailed explanation of constructing a grid, supported by plenty of diagrams, examples fully annotated and explained. I’d say that this book is ideal for both students and practising designers. There are the basics and then the very technical side of the use of grids which I’m still learning from. Because of the way it’s written and structured, you can easily flick through to find the relevant part of the book to pick up from, making it a useful reference book aswell as one to learn and improve from. I got this in my 2nd year of art college, and I can safely say that it has helped significantly with my understanding of type and layout and the appreciation of type driven design.
The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
This theory based book comes packed with practical explanation on the use of typography, supported by historical references. Written by an author who was evidently passionate about the subject, Robert Bringhurst manages to squeeze in plenty of information making this a compelling read both as a narrative and as an informative reference book.
Graphic Magazine – Type Archive Issue
One of my favourite design magazines, Graphic is a quarterly magazine published in Seoul, Korea focusing on the alternative trends of design, with each issue being driven by a single theme. The editorial design and production of the magazine is enough of a reason to buy this alone, you really get a feel that each issue has been custom designed to fit with the current theme.
Issue number #16 – Type Archive Issue is a gem for anyone who works with type and particularly for those who are into typeface designs. This issue exhibits 48 typefaces and comes in 2 parts; the interviews book and the typeface specimen booklet. The selected 48 designers and their typefaces that make the issue covers all aspects of typeface design all completed between 2007–2010, with a mixture of serifs, sans serif, symbols, scripts, display typefaces and body text. The interviews are very insightful as they look into the designer’s approach to typeface designs, focusing on the exhibited typeface itself, which makes you really appreciate and understand the process behind the typeface. The typeface specimen book presents only a couple of letters for each typeface to represent and encapsulate the whole typeface, making it a very engaging archive of all the 48 typefaces, together provide a very current an well selected collection of typefaces that will become a great source of inspiration and reference book that would sit well in any designer’s shelf.
The Typographic Desk Reference [TDR] by Theo Rosendorf
Another must have type specialist book for anyone who’s serious about every little typographic detail.
A quick reference guide of typographic terms and classification with definition of form and usage for Latin based writing systems.
That pretty much sells it really! The TDR is a small handbook packed with all the minute theories & technical details of how to use type properly, covering everything from the typographic terms, history and explanations of glyphs, anatomy & form aswell as classification & specimens of type. Again, another great book to pick up and read whenever you get a spare minute during your lunch break or simply to have in the studio as a essential Typographic Desk Reference.