This is not, by any mea­sure, a com­pre­hen­sive bib­li­og­ra­phy. Rather, it’s a se­lec­tion of fa­vorites from my own book­shelf that I con­sult most fre­quently in my work as a writer and a typographer.

Bryan A. Gar­ner, Gar­ner’s Mod­ern Eng­lish Us­age, 4th ed. (Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity Press, 2016).

Long before he agreed to write the foreword for my book Typography for Lawyers, Bryan Garner was a hero of mine. Garner thinks and writes about American English in a way that’s rigorous, convincing, and accessible. He is stern but not shrill, authoritative but not authoritarian. He is a vigorous advocate for clear, simple writing. His work should be mandatory for all writers.

Matthew But­t­er­ick, Ty­pog­ra­phy for Lawyers, 2nd ed. (O’Con­nors, 2015).

The precursor to Butterick’s Practical Typography. Lawyer or not, consider buying a copy, because it’s a virtuous act. See how to pay for this book.

Jan Mid­den­dorp, Shap­ing Text (BIS Pub­lish­ers, 2012).

If you get a second book on typography, get this one. Middendorp’s book is full of careful details, lucid explanations, and terrific illustrations.

Car­olina de Bar­tolo, Ex­plo­rations in Ty­pog­ra­phy, 2nd ed. (ex­plo­rationsin­ty­pog­ra­, 2016).

Using a Spiekermann essay from Stop Stealing Sheep (see below), de Bartolo shows how different typesetting choices change the effect of the text.

Robert Bringhurst, The El­e­ments of Ty­po­graphic Style, 4th ed. (Hart­ley and Marks Pub­lish­ers, 2013).

Bringhurst’s book has become something of a standard reference guide among professional typographers, bringing together the history, theory, and practice of typography.

Ellen Lup­ton, Think­ing With Type, 2nd ed. (Prince­ton Ar­chi­tec­tural Press, 2010).

Intended as an introduction to typography for design students, Lupton’s book is more accessible than Bringhurst’s. It includes full-color illustrations from every era of typography.

Sofie Beier, Read­ing Let­ters: De­sign­ing for Leg­i­bil­ity (BIS Pub­lish­ers, 2012).

Beier’s thoroughly researched and illustrated survey shows how empirical considerations have influenced type design for hundreds of years.

Paul Mc­Neil, The Vi­sual His­tory of Type, (Lau­rence King Pub­lish­ing, 2017).

As the title suggests, this is a catalog of font history, not a compendium of practical tips. But what a history—a wonderful selection of examples from the 1400s to the present, beautifully presented and explained.

Joseph Blu­men­thal, Art of the Printed Book, 1455-1955 (David R. Go­dine, 1979).

Jan Thole­naar, Cees De Jong, and Al­ston Purvis, Type. A Vi­sual His­tory of Type­faces & Graphic Styles (Taschen, 2013).

As a survey of typographic history, I prefer the McNeil book for its thorough and balanced coverage, but I also like these. The Blumenthal volume focuses more on book design than fonts per se. The other is drawn largely from Tholenaar’s own collection, so reflects his taste for decorative and oddball typography.

Tim Ahrens and Shoko Mugikura, Size-Spe­cific Ad­just­ments to Type De­signs (Just An­other Foundry, 2014).

This is the nerdiest recommendation on this list. But I can’t leave it out—it’s a beautifully presented demonstration of the subtlety and thought that goes into the best-designed fonts.

Ed­ward Tufte, The Vi­sual Dis­play of Quan­ti­ta­tive In­for­ma­tion, 2nd ed. (Graph­ics Press, 2001).

Ed­ward Tufte, En­vi­sion­ing In­for­ma­tion, 4th print­ing ed. (Graph­ics Press, 1990).

These are two of my favorite books. Tufte makes an eloquent and compelling case for why design matters. Both books are fantastically interesting, featuring examples of information design from many historical periods.

William Lid­well, Kritina Holden, and Jill But­ler, Uni­ver­sal Prin­ci­ples of De­sign, 2nd ed. (Rock­port Pub­lish­ers, 2010).

An excellent and accessible introduction to design principles that apply not only to printed documents, but to all objects that we interact with.
undock move Heliotrope Equity Valkyrie Century Supra Concourse Triplicate buy font close