Condensed Typography

I've been scouring typography primers lately looking for things written specifically about setting condensed type. Surprisingly little has turned up.

I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions for titles that go deeper than simply saying "oh yea, condensed typefaces exist and look cool." I'd also be interested in hearing if anyone has any personal rules they follow when setting condensed type. 

Thanks,  :smiley:


  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,432
    edited August 2015
    I am big fan of condensed type but can't think of a book to recommend about it. Suggestions are just the usual, not as readable as normal weight; don't use for books, etc..  Condensed often used for side notes which fit in narrow columns.  Great for technical material which has fitting issues like tables and graphs. I really like it for display type but again, no book that is very specific.  This leads me to trust my eyes but that won't help you as a reading source for your students.
  • Florian HardwigFlorian Hardwig Posts: 243
    edited August 2015
    Being a primer, it doesn’t go too deep into this topic, but Jan Middendorp’s Shaping Text, to which I had the honor to contribute, has half a page about condensed type. The page is included in a (low-res) preview available on Issuu.
    The main point made is that condensed type is not a great means to save space. On the contrary: a wider width at a smaller size will typically give better results in terms of legibility.
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