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Thinking With Type 2nd Revised and Expanded Edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students [Paperback]

Ellen Lupton
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 21 2010 Design Briefs
Our all time best selling book is now available in a revised and expanded second edition. Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition includes forty-eight pages of new content, including the latest information on style sheets for print and the web, the use of ornaments and captions, lining and non-lining numerals, the use of small caps and enlarged capitals, as well as information on captions, font licensing, mixing typefaces, and hand lettering. Throughout the book, visual examples showhow to be inventive within systems of typographic form--what the rules are and how to break them. Thinking with Type is a type book for everyone: designers, writers, editors, students, and anyone else who works with words. The popular online companion to Thinking with Type ( has been revised to reflect the new material in the second edition.

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Thinking With Type 2nd Revised and Expanded Edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students + Graphic Design: The New Basics
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Product Description

About the Author

Ellen Lupton is one of America's preeminent design educators. Her books include Indie Publishing, DIY: Design It Yourself, Graphic Design: The New Basics (with Jennifer Cole Phillips), Design Your Life (with Julia Lupton), and many others. She is curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Informative Book Jan. 22 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great reference for anybody studying typography! There are many photos and examples to view as well as helpful information to study from. I am in a graphic design program and think this is a book you should definitely buy instead of renting if your in an academic program.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting! Feb. 11 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really love that book, it's really interesting. As a student in graphic design I find it important to know more about typography. This book is a good add to my classes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! Dec 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're looking for ideas on font or type-set graphics, etc., this is the book! I use it all the time.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. Oct. 18 2010
By Alexis
Product was shipped faster than I expected! I was very impressed!! I need this for a university course and was very pleased to recieve the book the day after I ordered it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  105 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great additions! Oct. 24 2010
By Bhirsb - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've used "Thinking with Type" for the last year and a half in the typography classes that I teach. I thought the first edition was a useful tool. Then one of my students ordered this one, and let me look at it...and I was amazed at all of the new information (like a separate page each for numbers, punctuation, and ornaments) and examples that had been added. I ordered it for myself as soon as possible, and will be recommending the second edition to all of my students from now on.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great handbook Nov. 2 2010
By kenk - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent resource for anyone who is serious about graphic layout. It is not a type book; it does not review fonts individually. Rather, it considers type as a visual element. Accessibly written, someone new to the field could use it, as well as experienced graphic artists and those for whom the page is important. A good investment for the artist on a budget, too.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for anyone graphically inclined Nov. 30 2010
By A. Irvine - Published on
This book was suggested to me on Amazon because of other books I ordered on graphically displaying data, and I'm so happy it was! This book has easy-read essays about letters, text, and grids, all followed by some specific do's and don't's, and ideas/exercises to consider, all without being too preachy and laying the groundwork for you to make your own decisions about how to display text. I'm an urban planning & design student and I loved this book- I think anyone who will ever create anything from a report to a poster to a presentation should read it.
39 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gave me a headache to read Aug. 4 2012
By K. Feucht - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book had an initial very strong appeal to me, that quickly wore off. While the title of the book seems to suggest that the principle topic of the book is typography, it is not. Rather, it is a manual of modern design ideas. Ellen suggests that her goal is not to encourage readability, but to encourage the reader not to read. I quote "Although many books define the purpose of typography as enhancing the readability of the written word, one of design's most humane functions is, in actuality, to help readers avoid reading." This thinking is quite consistent with the decontructionist philosophical school that she tends to often quote, especially with Jacques Derrida. That is fine and dandy, except that the fact that Ellen is writing something suggests that she hopes that somebody will read what she writes. She is correct about one thing, that this book was not easy of the eyes to read. Her efforts to be different or unconventional made it very tense to get through her book. The book is laden with illustrations and the first impression of the plethora of examples of design that she provides is that they are cute. Subsequent impressions of her examples are less complementary, in that they are a tremendous strain on the reader (user, if you wish) to interpret the message being conveyed. Unfortunately, as she has received many favorable comments on, there will be many budding young graphic designers out there trying to establish their position in the world of graphic design, and are spurred by this book to be bizarre rather than effective in communicating an idea. If one has no ideas or thoughts to communicate, then this book is excellent for you. Allow your imagination to run wild, defy any convention, and never think about whether your message (if you have one) has been sent to the "other user", i.e., the reader. I can only presume that most "readers" of this book actually never read the book, but only looked at the "pretty" pictures. Her design style has much tension to it. It is crowded, busy, disorganized. The important readable type, such as the announcement of an event, is not immediately obvious, or written quite small and at an obtuse angle, making it a challenge to identify a purpose for the illustration. Deviations from convention rarely are effective at conveying or symbolizing anything, such as when she decides to arbitrarily and occasionally defy the text box of the main text. Perhaps the only value of this book is to suggest that deviations from convention might occasionally improve the efficacy of communication of a message, and for that it received two stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Critical Handbook for a Designer’s Starting Point Typography Nov. 4 2013
By Elizabeth Shular - Published on
Thinking with type is a critical guide for graphic designers. This book is not just about fonts. It's about seeing type as a visual element. Terms such as kerning, hierarchy, and type size give meaning to type in a visual composition. Creatively speaking, designers are able to manipulate typography and turn it into a message, like a symbolic code or a meaning.

The categories of this book are dissected into four components that consist of letters, texts, grids, and appendix. In the letters category, type is displayed as a narrative and a program. In electronic communication, one designer created typefaces consisting of no diagonals or curves in order to display type on a video screen. The designer proposed a design methodology that is rule-based and systematic.

In narratives, typography adopts the behaviors of the typeface’s name. One example from the book is a typeface called Beowulf. Created in 1990, this typeface has randomized outlines suggesting a behavior similar to the typeface itself.

In the text category, kerning is a really important subject in this book. The use of adjustment of space between two letters is significant in type. Ellen Lupton explains this beautifully in pages 102-103. These pages cover two types of kerning, metric and optical. Exercising space, Line spacing, and alignment are something that designers must be aware of when designing typography.

Throughout this book, there are helpful terms and guides on how not to treat type. These rules are called type crimes. Rules like these are helpful, because it gives designers the reason why they should avoid these crimes. Crimes such as vertical text and stretching type are the biggest offenders in type. Only designers who can justify their design can intentionally break these rules.

I recommend this book not only because of the eye-catching graphic examples but also because of how the text itself represents a visual guide. By using this guide designers can create typefaces, from compositions, and use typographic forms and elements to make the text easier to read.
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