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The Elements of Typographic Style [Paperback]

4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 31 1997
Robert Bringhurst explains clearly and concisely what good typographers should do and why they should do it. This thorough guide to the etiquette, grammar, and style of type is both a concise introduction and an authoritative desktop reference for the professional. Enlarged and revised, this edition includes technological and historical updates, making it the most up-to-date book on typography available.

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Product Description

From Amazon

This lovely, well-written book is concerned foremost with creating beautiful typography and is essential for professionals who regularly work with typographic designs. Author Robert Bringhurst writes about designing with the correct typeface; striving for rhythm, proportion, and harmony; choosing and combining type; designing pages; using section heads, subheads, footnotes, and tables; applying kerning and other type adjustments to improve legibility; and adding special characters, including punctuation and diacritical marks. The Elements of Typographic Style teaches the history of and the artistic and practical perspectives on a variety of type families that are available in Europe and America today.

The last section of the book classifies and displays many type families, offers a glossary of typography terms, and lists type designers and type foundries. The book briefly mentions digital typography, but otherwise ignores it, focusing instead on general typography and page- and type-design issues. Its examples include text in a variety of languages--including English, Russian, German, and Greek--which is particularly helpful if your work has a multinational focus. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In a discussion embracing five and a half centuries, poet and designer Bringhurst covers the design of individual characters of type and entire alphabets, as well as the layout of pages, including such items as footnotes, margins, and tables. A glossary defines terms such as kern, fore-edge, and pica, and there are annotated lists of type designers, from the 1400s until now, and of type foundries, mostly contemporary. An appendix illustrates unusual typographic characters, such as the Croatian "dyet" and the German "sharp s," and a final appendix lists, without annotation, more than 100 books and periodicals for further reading. The author's prose is sometimes flowery, and some of his strongly expressed opinions are questionable. Nonetheless, there's a wealth of sound advice and instruction here. Not required for most collections, this will be useful to graphic designers and those interested in the history of printed letterforms.?Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Along with the later book by James Felici, called "The Complete Manual of Typography" from Adobe Press, Bringhurst's book is a landmark work in English for any level of typgographic study.
Read it slowly and carefully for all the nuggets he leaves in a trail for us to follow. An amazing, brilliant effort no graphic design person should omit from his or her typographic education.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book to own May 31 2004
If you were allowed only one book on typography, it should be this one. Bringhurst is a poet. He loves language, written language, and all its parts. That love comes through in the text and the visual presentation of every page.
Bringhurst advocates a subdued typographic style. This makes good sense in the vast majority of cases, since typography is the servant of the text that it carries. Like any good servant, it should be unobtrusive, well dressed, and competent to handle every task it is given, quietly and promptly. Bringhurst demonstrates nearly everything he says, starting first with this book itself.
The book is a beautiful artifact, with an elegant and informative page layout. Body text, side- and foot-notes, references, running titles, and more - they all fit together well on the page. Each kind of information is set off only slightly, but clearly and predictably. The content is well organized: prose in the early chapters, reference material in the later chapters and appendices, and all the intermediates in the middle of the book. Diagrams and tables are minimalist and communicative.
The text spans centuries, from ancient Egyptian page layouts to the rationale behind Unicode. Bringhurst is passionate about typography's history, and insists that it inform every modern decision about print and printing. He embraces the new just as much, and is careful to note the strengths and weaknesses of each typographic technology.
Bringhurst discusses far too many topics to touch on here. In every case, though, he brings his poet's sense to all of the writing, using witty, descriptive language for even the most mundane of technical issues. The one weakness I saw was in the geometry of page layouts. I like his mathematical rigor and esthetic practicality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Jan. 28 2004
I read the reviews here, so I decided to buy it. It is a GREAT investment. Not only it is instructive, a serious reference book, but it is also a pleasure to read. It has turn my typography passion all new again! Good for young/veteran designers, and whoever loves design.
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5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE Jan. 27 2004
I am a graphic design student and this book has been so inspiring to me. It has showed me a side of tipography that I had never seen. The author of the book talks about type as if it were a piece of art. All the metaphors and analogies are just amazing and helpful when trying to put light on such intricate subject. Among all things typography is now the aspect of design I love the most, and I can see myself reopening this book every day of my academic and professional career as a designer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read! Dec 17 2003
This book has shaken my passion for type and design. It is inspiring, simple and educational. Either if you have a long life experience in design, or if you are just discovering the love for the written letters... You will keep it handy either way. It is really great and up to date!
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I've been a designer from a long time, and lately, have been rather burned out, finding a design world full of too much ego, hype and style without substance. But after stumbling on this book in a college bookstore, I have become reacquainted with my love of design and type. Mr. Bringhurst has reminded me about the purpose and purity of design, and it's humble yet vital role in the world.
Imagine... a book on typography that provides clear-headed facts and lessons, yet still reads like poetry. The comparison of page sizes to musical scales is brilliant. A beautifully made and beautifully written book that is a pleasure to hold, to read, and to learn from. This book is an achievement.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Nov. 17 2003
By A Customer
This was the recommended book for my typography class and I must say it was well worth it. Leading by example, it's a beautiful piece, and it's truly invaluble as a guide to typography enthusiasts - beginners and experts alike.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great source of information Aug. 10 2003
If you are into typography and care about little details when laying out a design, this book is perfect for you. The author clearly explains, down to the finest details, the use of typographic elements. The tone of the author might sound somewhat strict and commanding, but the knowledge that Bringhurst has to share is with no doubt classic, and leads to great typographic solutions.
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