Typography book list

I came across a list of recommended typography books by Chris Do this morning:

I checked out the list of recommendations, but I have to say I wasn’t enamoured by the choices.

It’s hard to judge as there’s no context provided why these books are recommended. But when the first book is $50 that’s not exactly accessible. Maybe it is the best book on the subject, but I hadn’t come across it before.

Anyway it prompted me to publish a list I drafted ages ago. So for what it’s worth here’s a list of six books I would recommend.

Practical Typography

Practical typography

by Matthew Butterick

My go to book for typography. I refer to it all the time and it truly embodies its title. The section Typography in ten minutes will alone make you a better designer.

Thinking with Type

Thinking with type

by Ellen Lupton

Another favourite and one that deals with typography more broadly as design. It is an accessible overview of type covering technical aspects, history all with plenty of examples.

There is a follow up Type on Screen, but that is a bit of a difficult second album. An interesting read, but not as useful.

The Elements of Typographic Style

The elements of typographic scale

by Robert Bringhurst

Often regarded as the book on typography and for good reason. This book covers everything and in detail. Robert Bringhurst’s real skill is writing. A book that is largely technical could be boring: it’s anything but. It is also beautiful.

It is perhaps not a book to start learning typography. You don’t really need a 100 page list of different typefaces and table of proportions. But if you get the bug for type then this is definitely one to read.

I couldn’t find a website so here’s a review on Typographica

Web Typography

Web typography

by Richard Rutter

Not to be confused with the On Web Typography which I found disappointing. A practical guide with a web design bent. A a criticism is that it perhaps treads familiar ground. But otherwise it is well written, lucid and concise.

The New Typography

The new typography

by Jan Tschichold

If you get interested in the history and theory of typography, especially modernism, then this is essential reading. It is full of fascinating insight from the point of view of a practitioner.

I couldn’t find a website, so here’s a link to Good Reads

The Book

The book

by Keith Houston

Now this a bit off-topic as it is about a book rather than typography. I got it to learn about typographic terms used in books, but it is so much more. It is full of stories, anecdotes, historical insight and it is insanely thorough.

— Alexander Blackman