- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Hartley and Marks Publishers; 3rd edition (October 9, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0881792063
- ISBN-13: 978-0881792065
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Elements of Typographic Style 3rd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Little more than half of the 382-page book is filled with what I would call the actual "core" of the work. The other half is dedicated to analyses of the author's favourite typefaces (about 80 pages) and several appendices. There is nothing inherently bad about this distribution, but unfortunately some of the core parts were only given a cursory mention, when in my opinion they deserved more in-depth discussions.
So, for example:
(a) In chapter 8, Shaping the Page, the author lists countless page and textblock proportions and provides a large number of geometric figures representing page formats, but does little more than give each proportion a name ("Full Cross Octagon page", "Turned Hexagon" etc). He then gives a few examples, but not nearly enough, and leaves the reader wanting for more details on which proportions or formats would, in the author's analysis, be more appropriate for this or that type of text. And most of the numbers and diagrams merely take up space in the book, since just knowing about their existence does not help much.
(b) Two diagrams on page 6 (just before the table of contents) are supposed to show the reader how the author came up with the proportions for the book's pages and textblocks.Read more ›
It is less useful, however, for beginners and self publishers, to whom it is often recommended. They will be less conscious that some of Bringhurst's advice is simply his opinion -- not an absolute rule or even standard practice.
Certainly read Bringhurst for advanced study. But if you're just learning about typography, there are better introductions. (My own favorite is James Felici's The Complete Manual of Typography).
rightly acclaimed guide to good writing, whose title differs by just one
word from this book's. But a considerable distance separates the contents
of these two works: Elements of Style is clear, no-nonsense guide full of
wise advice, plainly expressed; the book embodies its principles perfectly.
Bringhurst says he set himself "to compile simple list of working principles"
but that idea seems to have been completely submerged in the book he wrote.
What principles are in play in Chapter 11, Prowling the Specimen Book, where
he explores more than 100 typefaces with historical asides? His answer (p 211):
"Call the type by its honest name if you can." Practical advice.
Self-indulgent excess is the rule here, not disciplined, focused writing.
In a book about essentials (Elements), what is the purpose of a complete
catalog of every possible accent and decoration of the roman alphabet,
some used only in languages like Sahaptin, Lillooet and Arika?
And while I described Strunk and White as no-nonsense, there is plenty of
nonsense to be found in Bringhurst. Chapter 8, Shaping the Page, concerns an
important practical matter. But the author gives us musical metaphors and a
collection of fanciful geometrical constructions with no logical or esthetic
foundation that I could fathom. Page layouts based on pairs of circles,
pentagons, hexagons with diagonals and some that look like illustrations
of Desargues' Theorem. The truth is that any proportion can be derived
from a geometrical construction.Read more ›
Don't buy this book if you don't like to read. It isn't a quick guide that will cram the basics of typography into your skull before tomorrow's midterm exam. This is the sort of book you curl up with when you have a long rainy afternoon to yourself. It is long-winded, goes off on tangents, and the author, while immensely knowledgeable, is set in opinions that will not be shared by everyone. An opinionated typographer (and aren't we all?) will read some passages in twitchy annoyance, wishing one could call up that Mr. Bringhurst and tell him a thing or two. But whether you agree or disagree, you will be thinking of your reasons, evaluating your conceptions and becoming better for it. Reading this book is like having a deep conversation with your favorite friend who is keen to discuss the nuances of typography with you hour after hour. Except probably your friends are like mine and wouldn't recognize a ligature if it bit them on the serif, which is why this book inspires so much devotion. It's personal, poetic, and speaks to your heart - if your heart happens to be full of glyphs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If your new to graphic design/typography then reading this book is a must at any real art school.Trust me, it'll elevate your type skills to the next level..Published 9 months ago by TheIncredibleMan
I'm by far not a great type designer, but I do love type design. This book not only provides a detailed view of type design fundamentals, it also explores typesetting in general. Read morePublished 10 months ago by E. M. Hobo
I bought this for one of my editors at work. He liked it and referenced it often. He says he still uses it even though he's moved on from book publishing and is in marketing now. Read morePublished 10 months ago by GingerH
Classic typography book. Arrived in great condition — new as promised.Published 11 months ago by Francesco A Belvedere
If you're getting into typography, or looking to expand your knowledge, this is THE book. Its somewhat dry (like standard history textbook dry, but with added math for more fun),... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Adam Trabold