Recommended Type Design and Typography Books

2

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  • Dan ReynoldsDan Reynolds Posts: 141
    edited December 2015
    Miles, yes. Vol. 1 is part 1 of a two-part book. Vol. 2 is the second half. It is just so long. 

    The edition, however, is important. You want the updated, corrected edition (of both volumes), from 1937. The first edition, from 1922, contains even more factual errors than the later edition. 

    Despite the flaws, it is well worth a read. It remains the fullest attempt at a history of western typography yet to have been written in any language.
  • thank you Dan.
  • please could someone give me a clue about Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of Updike's Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use; A Study in Survivals.
    Is it chronological, with Vol. 2 covering more recent types?
    Sort of. The structure of the book, consistent with cultural histories of the time, is built around national schools (chapters on Dutch types, German types, English types, etc.) but the beginning of printing and renaissance types all appear in volume one. Later German types are also there, and then volume two picks up types from the 16th century and later in other countries. Scans of the texts are available freely via Google.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,752
    edited December 2015
    Miles, The Modification of Letter Forms is a book about altering letters, mostly across type families. It examines proportions across type familes with weight and width axes and presents math the provides a starting poiny for weight and width values. It's similar to de Groot's interpolation theory but this book explores in more depth than anything else. Hess was about twenty years ahead of his time. If he had published in the 1990s every typopgraphy textbook would hail him as a genius.
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 568
    edited December 2015
    The Modification of Letterforms is available on Amazon (4 or 5 copies) and on abe.com (3 copies).
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,712
    edited December 2015

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Modification-Letterforms-Stanley-Hess/dp/B000MM7ASQ

    I like the way Hess drew all the examples himself (although not the cover!) and conceived of various design axes, beyond horizontal scale and weight. Especially his idea of “folded” and “unfolded” forms.

  • I’m pretty sure Hess is still alive and working as a fine art painter in Tulsa. Someone with book publishing knowledge should contact Hess and see if he’ll authorize a facsimile edition of The Modification of Letterforms.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 544
    edited December 2015
    please could someone give me a clue about Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of Updike's Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use; A Study in Survivals.
    Is it chronological, with Vol. 2 covering more recent types?

    Vol 1 is online at https://archive.org/details/printingtypesthe01updi and
    Vol 2 at http://archive.org/stream/printingtypesthe02updi
  • Pablo: Thanks! That's not a great scan, but I've had a crack at cleaning it up and making it printable. I've put the first volume at http://www.simon-cozens.org/updike/vol1.pdf (76Mb download).

    I happen to run a small publishing company; would there be any interest in hard copies of this? (I know there are versions available on Amazon etc. but I bet you they've just used the as-scanned PDF and not put the effort into tidying it up.)

    And James, if you or anyone wants to put me in touch with Hess I'd equally be happy to talk about a reprint.
  • Simon, if you download the 300 Mb SINGLE PAGE ORIGINAL JP2 TAR you get the high resolution files, there are also a SINGLE PAGE PROCESSED JP2 ZIP wich have some proccessing. (These are the lonks for v1, but they are available for every book)
  • Yes, I used those and lots of imagemagick scripts to tidy them up.
  • I really like The Modification of Letterforms, but I will caution that I am not convinced all of the advice is sound. I was recently comparing how Hess handles condensing/expanding letterforms versus how our modern master type designers do it, and there were some major differences in results.

    Then again, on a number of topics it is the only thing out there that I know of, so it is hard to knock it.
  • My favourite books are Typage and Joyscribe, but I'm probably bias.
  • I recently got my paws on Fontographer - type by design book by Stephen Moye. And I think it contains the information we all need. Not only useful with people using fontographer, but others too, with detailed instruction about the needed steps to make a font. But I'm pretty new into type design, so I don't really sure if the information in this book is up to date. 
  • A book titled The Story of the Alphabet published in 1921 and written by Otto F. Ege is available for free download at:

    https://archive.org/details/StoryOfTheAlphabet
  • I love Moye's Fontographer book. It is less specific to Fontographer than you might think, and has tons of good info on proper construction of glyph outlines, in terms of how you place nodes and BCPs. Highly recommended, and cheap on the second-hand market! (Before Karen Cheng's book came out, used copies of Moye's book were up to $300.)

    I drew on it substantially on Moye for my recent webinar on outline construction and point placement, which should be up on YouTube some time this week.
  • I love Moye's Fontographer book. It is less specific to Fontographer than you might think, and has tons of good info on proper construction of glyph outlines, in terms of how you place nodes and BCPs. Highly recommended, and cheap on the second-hand market! (Before Karen Cheng's book came out, used copies of Moye's book were up to $300.)
    +1
    I hunted that book down from somewhere and it's a very good general purpose tutorial on construction practices. Didn't cost me much, either, if I remember correctly. There may be more available at a reasonable price than you'd think.
  • Prices on Moye's book have gone up in recent months. It used to be around $10 used, now starts around $15-20 last time I looked, a week ago. This may be my fault, because I keep mentioning it in my webinars (on spacing, and more recently on outline construction). With a quite limited supply, it doesn't take much increase in demand to raise the used price.  :(

    Still, I doubt its price will ever again reach the lofty heights it attained just before Cheng's book came out, when it was typically $200-300.
  • I still don't really understand why, in a print-on-demand world, there needs to be a limited supply. There's no real reason for any book to be "out of print" any more.

    MIS Press appears to be defunct but if we can get permission from the author it should be possible to get this (and other books such as the Hess one) back into print fairly easily.
  • @Simon Cozens -- Copyright might have something to do with it.
  • MIS Press appears to be defunct but if we can get permission from the author it should be possible to get this (and other books such as the Hess one) back into print fairly easily.

    That’s why books stay out of print. The amount of money to be made reprinting scare and rare books rarely justifies the costs of finding the author, hiring a contract attorney to secure rights, scanning an old copy, and reprinting it. This can easily cost thousands of dollars when the author and last owner of the publishing company are both dead and neither left a will.

  • I often find myself consulting Typage and Joyscribe, even though I am the author of both books.
  • Richard FinkRichard Fink Posts: 165
    edited March 2016
    <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/9968" title="Link: http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/9968">Digital Fonts And Reading</a> Hot off the presses. Includes pieces by luminaries like Dr. Kevin Larson and Dr. Sophie Beier. Friend Eben Sorkin and more. I've started an "aggregation and commentary" series on Facebook named FontFriday. And I wrote a little about this book there - the price and a few other things - and it's pinned to the top so it will come right up on Facebook. And maybe like or follow or whatever the hell you can do with the page, too, while you're at it - so far, I've been able to keep up a steady stream of font-related links you might like to keep track of.
  • joeclarkjoeclark Posts: 123
    I tell people NOT to read The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst.
    It was a waste of time and effort for me[.]
    Even mild criticism of Saint Robert here on TypeDrawers gets you hate-flagged as Troll by trolls. Saint Robert would, further, argue that the word “NOT” in your posting must be typeset in small caps.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,346
    Carry on, Miles ;-)  I quite agree.
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,712
    edited March 2016
    Robert Bringhurst’s book is valuable for its gravitas and sophistication—in the way that it is planned, written, designed and typeset. It contributes a tone of dignity to typography that works such as Stop Stealing Sheep…, whatever their practical benefits, lack.

    However, as someone who spent much of his career in marketing, as an art director, I’ve always felt that his Style Guide is of another world, that of book publishing. The same is true of works such as Chappell’s Short History… and Kinross’ Modern Typography, neither of which has any illustrations of advertising typography.


  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,752
    I think Bringhurst is more concerned with his own platonic ideal of book typography than practical book typography.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,712
    Well, he had my from the start:
    1.1.1 Typography exists to honour content.

    And he does lay down a classic, traditional position, which is useful if only to have something substantial to rebel against. That’s why Neville Brody went to the London College of Printing.

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,346
    ... if only to have something substantial to rebel against....



    My preference, Nick ;-)
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