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The Elements of Typographic Style Paperback – January 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Hartley & Marks Publishers; 2nd edition (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881791326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881791327
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This lovely, well-written book is concerned foremost with creating beautiful typography and is essential for professionals who regularly work with typographic designs. Author Robert Bringhurst writes about designing with the correct typeface; striving for rhythm, proportion, and harmony; choosing and combining type; designing pages; using section heads, subheads, footnotes, and tables; applying kerning and other type adjustments to improve legibility; and adding special characters, including punctuation and diacritical marks. The Elements of Typographic Style teaches the history of and the artistic and practical perspectives on a variety of type families that are available in Europe and America today.

The last section of the book classifies and displays many type families, offers a glossary of typography terms, and lists type designers and type foundries. The book briefly mentions digital typography, but otherwise ignores it, focusing instead on general typography and page- and type-design issues. Its examples include text in a variety of languages--including English, Russian, German, and Greek--which is particularly helpful if your work has a multinational focus. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In a discussion embracing five and a half centuries, poet and designer Bringhurst covers the design of individual characters of type and entire alphabets, as well as the layout of pages, including such items as footnotes, margins, and tables. A glossary defines terms such as kern, fore-edge, and pica, and there are annotated lists of type designers, from the 1400s until now, and of type foundries, mostly contemporary. An appendix illustrates unusual typographic characters, such as the Croatian "dyet" and the German "sharp s," and a final appendix lists, without annotation, more than 100 books and periodicals for further reading. The author's prose is sometimes flowery, and some of his strongly expressed opinions are questionable. Nonetheless, there's a wealth of sound advice and instruction here. Not required for most collections, this will be useful to graphic designers and those interested in the history of printed letterforms.?Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

»The Elements Of Typographic Style« is a very very interesting book.
Bjorn Clasen
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.
wiredweird
I am a graphic design student and this book has been so inspiring to me.
Valentina Miosuro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Brian M. Taylor on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a designer, I am always looking to hone my skills. I thought I was adept at setting type until I found this gem. Bringhurst's study of type covers the obvious to the arcane. Beautifully designed, it illustrates type and their families, page geometry, philosophies of design, and typesetting rules. Master Craftsman, Hermann Zapf (you know -- his faces are in your computer) said himself that "he wishes to see this book become the Typographers Bible". This book is a must for the writer, publisher, designer, and editor because it covers a multitude of topics and rules vital and common to each sector. This is the "Manual of Style" for typesetting. It requires us to think more carefully about the setting of words and its impact on writing: "Typography is to literature what musical performance is to composition -- full of endless opportunity for insight OR obtuseness." I recommend this for anyone even remotely interested in the artform of letters. I highly recommend it for writers considering designing their own books.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A. Cinque Hicks on December 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for every graphic designer, book designer, typographer and certainly anyone directly or indirectly responsible for unleashing the current wave of awful typography on an unsuspecting public. Bringhurst covers everything from the basics of type styles to advanced kerning principles to the finer points of page proportions, all in a succint yet engaging way.
Bringhurst does an excellent job of laying out a series of rules and guidelines, while making it clear that these are a starting point, a foundation for good type design, not a set of limitations. He is a poet as well as a typographer, and his eloquence pays tribute to the field as no one else has.
The book features a good deal on the evolution of typography and includes great side-by-side comparisons of typefaces to illustrate specific points. He also deals extensively with punctuation marks, diacritics and the duty/joy of designing type with languages other than English in mind. I find myself returning again and again to the section on the subtleties of page proportions. He also achieves the nearly impossible balance of singing the praises of the old masters while not being afraid of the best of what's new and experimental.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you were allowed only one book on typography, it should be this one. Bringhurst is a poet. He loves language, written language, and all its parts. That love comes through in the text and the visual presentation of every page.
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.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Hans Koevoet on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Good craft teachers are able to teach their students all the skills it takes for their professional life. Great teachers go beyond that: they try to make their students Understand the craft. By telling them about its historical development, by developing their taste instead of just giving good recipes, by showing the inside. In The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst puts the why before the how. His work is a mix of a very elaborate history of typography, a wealth of discussions on all kinds of big and little subjects any typographer wants or forgets to consider - and yes, also practical advice. For instance, Bringhurst first makes clear why with some fonts, it is inappropriate to use bold - and then he goes on showing how to create up to six visually different levels of subheads without using bold once. Even in such cases, Bringhurst stays far away from soothing his readers with quick and dirty advices. As he explained after finishing the book, he wanted nothing more or less than simply to write a book about typography as good as he could - a truly genuine approach in an age where customer orientation is often taken to the extremes. No wonder Bringhurst values timeless typographical virtues higher than the fashions of the day. Some readers may find the result of this approach a bit too academical or lyrical. For them, other excellent books on typography are waiting on the shelf. For me, Bringhurst is a great teacher.
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