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Lettering & Type: Creating Letters & Designing Typefaces [Paperback]

Bruce Willen , Nolen Strals

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2009 Design Briefs
No component of graphic design has attracted as much interest or inspired as much innovation in recent years as lettering and type. These fundamentals of design, once the exclusive domain of professional typographers, have become an essential starting point for anyone looking for a fresh way to communicate. Practical information about creating letters and type often amounts to a series of guidelines for executing a particular process, font program, or style. But what makes lettering andtype endlessly fascinating is the flexibility to interpret and sometimes even break these rules. Lettering & Type is a smart-but- not-dense guide to creating and bending letters to one's will. More than just another pretty survey, it is a powerful how-to book full of relevant theory, history, explanatory diagrams, and exercises. While other type design books get hung up on the technical and technological issues of type design and lettering, Lettering & Type features the context and creativity that shape letters and make them interesting.

Authors and designers Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals examine classic design examples as well as exciting contemporary lettering of all stripes-from editorial illustrations to concert posters to radical conceptual alphabets. Lettering & Type is ideal for anyone looking to move beyond existing typography and fonts to create, explore, and use original or customized letterforms. This latest addition to our best-selling Design Briefs seriesfeatures a foreword by Ellen Lupton and hundreds of images and examples of work by historical and contemporary designers, artists, and illustrators, including Marian Bantjes, Stefan Sagmeister, Matthew Carter, Christoph Niemann, Steve Powers (ESPO), House Industries, Christian Schwartz, MargaretKilgallen, James Victore, Abbott Miller, Sibylle Hagmann, Ed Fella, and many more. Throughout the book interviews with type designers, artists, and graphic designers provide real-world perspective from contemporary practitioners.

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Lettering & Type: Creating Letters & Designing Typefaces + Designing Type
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Archit.Press; 1 edition (Sept. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156898765X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568987651
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 18 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #247,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

For nearly a decade, Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals have collaborated under the label Post Typography on creative projects encompassing graphic design, illustration, typography, lettering, and printmaking with additional forays into art, apparel, music, curatorial work, design theory, and vandalism. They both live in Baltimore.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just skims the surface May 2 2010
By BN - Published on Amazon.com
OK for beginners, but mostly redundant for intermediate/advanced design students. The first half of the book is a very basic rehash of typography 101 (e.g. "this is an ascender. this is a counter"). We finally get into type design/lettering in the second half, but the information provided is very light - we mostly get a showcase of different kinds of custom lettering and bare bones intro to letterforms and typeface design. This is also not a how-to guide - doesn't really get into the mechanics of lettering, and offers few examples of it.

Check out Karen Cheng's 'Designing Type' and Leslie Cabarga's 'Logo Font & Lettering Bible' if you really want to learn the subject.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great intro book for aspiring type designers Sept. 29 2009
By Jason Castle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Acknowledging that "mastering the art of arranging letters in space and time is essential knowledge for anyone who crafts communications for page or screen," this book's focus is on letterforms themselves and even creating them (type design) rather than on arranging them beautifully (typography). Type design is an art (or perhaps 'craft' would be a better word) that requires a blend of both technical and visual skills, and in fact covers such a broad range of disciplines that it can be somewhat intimidating. But, this book seems to provide a "friendly, openhearted introduction" to type design, with a brief overview of the history of the written and printed word, typeface classification and terminology, case studies and type design exercises. There are also interviews with some of the luminaries in this field, including renowned type designer Christian Schwartz, whom I remember when he was starting out at the age of 14!

As in any visual art, type design is a matter of developing your eye, so learning to really look at letters critically is essential. The chapter of this book that I think might be most helpful to the beginning type designer is appropriately titled "Designing Typefaces", which illustrates many of the subtle tricks a designer must use to compensate for optical illusions and such. This is the one area that separates professional type designers from the wannabes, and I must confess that I'm still trying to master it. So, I suggest book-marking this chapter. [...]
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars promising but too thin for the subject Aug. 22 2010
By Richard Bigus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book that covers too many topics for a thin (128 pages) and small (7 x 9 inch) volume and consequently does justice to no one topic as well as an illustrated magazine article. Its section "A Compressed History of the Roman Alphabet" fails to mention Gutenberg (though he is mentioned once in a latter chapter) and the text is so sparsely illustrated I'm afraid it will do more to confuse readers than inform them. Its section, "Lettering As Image" is mostly contemporary with the worse examples of its kind I've seen, this subject goes back to the Greeks though the authors begin with the 1890s Art Nouveau.

While this book is not an academic text or how-to book I am using it as a required text in my beginning type class since Karen Cheng's book, Designing Type is currently out of print. The book covers many of the essentials: Type Anatomy (which it calls "Letter Structures"), Typeface Classification Categories (though there is no section on typeface comparison & only the cap & lower case letter "a" is typeset), Calligraphy, Book and Display type (there is also a brief section on "Creating Text Letters & Book Types that is good) and end with a section on designing typefaces. However, this last section is only 17 pages and only covers one typeface, Franklin Gothic. Many of the books marginal captions and notes are the more interesting and informative parts of the book.

The book does one thing well that I am hoping my students will appreciate; and that's its emphasis on how handwriting and hand lettering have functioned as inspirational models in contemporary type design.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! Oct. 8 2013
By Maureen Perry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book! I'm obsessed. Everyone interested in typography should read it. It's so informative and a great read. I can't recommend it more.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Jan. 13 2013
By M. Wandling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great addition to the design book collection. Be sure to pick this one up today, features really great type examples! A must for type designers.

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