The Elements of Typographic Style Paperback – Sep 27 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
I had basic typo. training in my second year as a design major, but this was the book that made it all come together for me. The point of this book is -style- and not simply the history and terminology of type (though both are peppered throughout the book). What I have found especially useful were the sections regarding punctuation and the chapter entitled 'Shaping the Page'. It is not a dry read, as we are talking about a book written by a beloved poet as well as book designer.
To put it into perspective, if my appartment suddenly caught on fire, this is one of the first items I'd grab. This is coming from a 21yr old student and not a seasoned professional, but to push this fire buisness, this text has lit the 'spark' of typography within me.
If I had a criticism of this book, which I honestly don't, it would be about the author's unwavering mindset regarding typographic design. Each time I refer to it, which is often, I feel that if I don't follow Bringhurst's words to the letter, he will show up at my door one day to slap me on the knuckles with his wooden yardstick. I can't call this a criticism, though, as the author truly does believe in what he writes...wow, does he believe.
I believe that this text should be within arms reach of every designer that works with text; those new to the game, as well as those that remember Letraset transfers. It truly is all-inclusive and well written.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Absolutely essential for anyone looking to delve into the formatting of their own work.Published 24 months ago by john hunt
This includes Great research about the fading art of typography -easy to read and fascinating- a must for any design student!Published on April 21 2014 by Elizabeth McQueen
Typography isn't always the most engaging subject. But this book really made for an easy and information read. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2013 by Gregory Wheeler
Covers the basics of type theory, but it's incredibly dry since it's very text heavy. I still recommend it though.Published on Oct. 5 2013 by Nicole Bryczkowski
I found the analogies annoying and just plain lame. I had to sift through his writing to find facts I could apply to the craft of typography.Published on July 22 2013 by Paul Douglas
Bringhurst is individual genius who has synthesized the fragmentary knowledge about typography into a singular vision not seen since Tschichold's Die Neue Typographie. Read morePublished on Oct. 13 2006 by B. MOOGK
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... Read morePublished on June 1 2004 by Bernard Klem
If you are into fonts in a big way you'll like this book. If you design fine books you'll enjoy it. Much on history. The section equating musical scales seemed insane to me. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by D. Garcia