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The Elements of Typographic Style Paperback – Jan 31 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hartley & Marks; 2nd ed edition (Jan. 31 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881791326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881791327
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 13.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #381,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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 the Hardcover edition.

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

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By wiredweird on May 31 2004
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Serious designers who are beginning their trade, or old hats who might need to be refreshed in typography can benefit from Robert Bringhurst's "The Elements of Typographic Style."
Bringhurst has brought us a thrifty tome of typography. Succinct, he isn't bound to entertain the reader, but educate him.
His glossary of typographic terms will bring you into the know about apertures, dot leaders, nuts and muttons.
Just as useful is his thorough appendix of sorts and characters. With an image of the characters, he explains in a few sentences what characters is when it is to be used properly. He distinguishes acutes from graves from primes from hois from apostrophes. Adjacent to this lexicon is a quick visual index of alphabetic character. This section alone was worth the price for me.
The real science of "The Elements of Typographic Style" is in Bringhurst's bulk of explanations of letter construction, page composition, defining and given shorts histories of classic fonts as seen in specimen books, a great chapter on analphabetic symbols.
I fully recommend this book. Artists, designers, illustrators all should have a copy of this. It reads easier than you might suspect, and would serve as a fine textbook. Writers should read it for no other reason than it is interesting, but to also have pity on our poor designers who must make our words look nice.
Anthony Trendl
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Format: Paperback
I can see that there are plenty of reviews telling why this book is essential to any typographer or typographic designer, so I won't bother repeating. however, I also noticed one particular person who gave rather misleading criticism, so I will offer a rebuttal of his points.
Lamberti-Mershon from Evanston, Illinois USA, pointed out that Bringhurst's book "bugged" him for the following reasons:
1) i hate books that are organized like, 3.2.1, 3.4.6, for points. It totally breaks up a narrative flow, and it looks ugly.
the section numbering system, in this case, makes the book an amazingly simple thing to navigate. this is one of the finest points of Mr. Bringhurst's structure.
2) the type is small, my wife saw that right away.
certainly this is a subjective matter, but I can think of no more readable book. if I remember correctly, the text (Minion) is set 10/12. are there any typographers out there who wish to question the functionality of those numbers?
3) he uses a wide border from text to page, so that I have to yank and pull and stretch the book wide open in order to see the text towards the binding. [...] My point is, the book is hard to read! Go figure.
like I said before, this is subjective, but this really is quite a readable book. the borders this reviewer speaks of are of the Renaissance sort, large outer borders for the placement of the thumbs. I don't remember a time when I felt the need to "strech" the book, the spine of my copy is in beautiful conidtion. carrying his thought one further, the overall proportions of text area to page are historically well established. to me, the structure of such a system is unquestionably comfortable.
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Format: Paperback
Good craft teachers are able to teach their students all the skills it takes for their professional life. Great teachers go beyond that: they try to make their students Understand the craft. By telling them about its historical development, by developing their taste instead of just giving good recipes, by showing the inside. In The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst puts the why before the how. His work is a mix of a very elaborate history of typography, a wealth of discussions on all kinds of big and little subjects any typographer wants or forgets to consider - and yes, also practical advice. For instance, Bringhurst first makes clear why with some fonts, it is inappropriate to use bold - and then he goes on showing how to create up to six visually different levels of subheads without using bold once. Even in such cases, Bringhurst stays far away from soothing his readers with quick and dirty advices. As he explained after finishing the book, he wanted nothing more or less than simply to write a book about typography as good as he could - a truly genuine approach in an age where customer orientation is often taken to the extremes. No wonder Bringhurst values timeless typographical virtues higher than the fashions of the day. Some readers may find the result of this approach a bit too academical or lyrical. For them, other excellent books on typography are waiting on the shelf. For me, Bringhurst is a great teacher.
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