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The Non-Designer's Type Book

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0201353679
ISBN-10: 0201353679
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Williams teaches electronic typography and has written some excellent books on digital design (e.g., The Non-Designer's Design Book, Peachpit, 1994). Anyone who has misplaced a font they just downloaded from a web site or who has witnessed the horrific use of type on many personal web sites knows how badly these books are needed. Clear explanations and good illustrations are the hallmarks of both volumes. There is little overlap, since one deals with managing the electronic fonts and the other with the uses of type. These gems are recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

This latest addition to Robin Williams' Non-Designers line of books not only defines the principles governing type but explains the logic behind them so readers can understand and see what looks best and why. Armed with this knowledge, and putting into practice the secrets Robin reveals for making type readable and artistic, readers can then go on to create beautiful, sophisticated, professional-looking pages on their computers for output as hard copy or for use on Web pages.

Each short chapter explores a different type secret including use of evocative typography, tailoring typeface to project, working with spacing, punctuation marks, special characters, fonts, justification, and much more. It is written in the lively, engaging style that has made Williams one of the most popular computer authors today. And it uses numerous examples to illustrate the subtle details that make the difference between good and sophisticated use of type. The non-platform specific, non-software specific approach to the book makes this a must-have for any designer's bookshelf - from type novices to more experienced graphic designers and typesetters.

Please note! If you've read Beyond the Mac is not a typewriter then you don't need this book. This book is almost exactly the same as Beyond the Mac is not a typewriter.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press (July 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201353679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201353679
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,423,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Robin Williams covers just what you really need to know in this short book. No useless chatter, just important information in a what-to-do and what-not-to-do manner with just the perfect dash of sarcasm and humour to create a relaxed atmosphere for learning.
The book begins with a bit of the history and structure of fonts. Very important information for beginners. But it immediately gets into information which results in an immediate improvement in your work whether you are a typesetter or graphic designer. You would now know what makes for tacky typography and what rules you could break to create a more artistic, daring, and edgy piece of work.
Every topic is accompanied by an illustration of the wrong way and the right way to do things and a list of the fonts used in the illustration (VERY HELPFUL!)
This is definitely a must-have book for anyone in the world of print media.
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In my opinion, the "Non-Designer's Type Book" should just be considered "Volume II" of a boxed set with the "Non-Designer's Design Book." Its introduction to basic typography--the design and use of letters--is as elegant and understandable as the first book's introduction to graphic design.
From a basic history and classification of typefaces, to suggestions for how to mix and match them, Williams gives you all the basic advice you need to ensure that your work will never look like it was created by a chimpanzee hitting keys at random.
As always, Williams teaches sound principles, which you can apply again and again, but backs them up with a host of examples and alternatives. First things, first, though: Read the Non-Designer's Design Book first before you "graduate" to typography!
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Format: Paperback
While the title suggests it's a weak primer for amateurs it is actually an excellent read for all those needing to review the basics of typography. Your work will look better and your confidence will improve after reading this book. Williams style is casual, often humorous, and always easily understood.
Too bad it's just a repackaging of Beyond the Mac is Not a Typewriter. I bought it cluelessly as there is no indication on the cover. A bit of a sales scam behind a generally good book.
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Format: Paperback
I generally find typography one of those dry, tedious details I have to know to as part of my job. But THIS book makes it approachable, understandable, interesting, and even entertaining. As titled, this is a book for NON-designers - people who aren't usually interested in this stuff unless compelled to be, and who don't have a lot of time to learn it. If you're looking for something edgier or for "breaking the rules," this is not the book to start with. However, if you're one of those people with a thousand fonts on your computer and only about 3 you ever use, this book will open your mind to the possibilities.
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I'm a big fan of the author, but I feel this is not one of her best books. She clearly illustrates all the important type concepts, but the book felt too long for the amount of information presented.

I love her "The Non-Designer's Design Book" which concisely covers some of the same information. I've recommended the "Design Book" to lots of people but cannot think of anyone I'd recommend the "Type Book" to. I would have preferred it as a quick reference companion to the "Design Book", maybe at half its current size.
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Format: Paperback
When I picked up this book, I figured that the title, "The Non-Designer's Type Book," meant that it was a book about type, FOR non-designers. After reading it, from cover to cover, I now wonder if the title refers to the author's credentials rather than the book's target audience. I love typography. I sit in theaters and watch every minute of the rolling credits if the font used is well chosen and well displayed. I have a Caslon 540 lower-case "g" pinned to the wall above my Mac instead of swimsuit pics. If you love type, you know what I'm talking about. If you love type, avoid this book and do not recommend it to anyone who hopes to someday love typography and master its use. Robin Williams' cutesy and heavy-handed text, while sometimes informative, is loaded with irritating "insights" as well as written-in-stone directives that are passed off as law. For instance, in at least two places, she states that type should NEVER, EVER be underlined. She says that it's a "law" that should "never" be broken. C'mon Robin! I mean yes, underlining is very often misused, but have you looked at the latest PRINT or CA Annual? There is a time and a place for underlining and the sensitive, savvy designer knows when and how to do it. She outright trashes one of the most elegantly designed faces in the history of the printed word, Helvetica, and glibly states that it will be out of style for the "next two hundred years." What?? Again, has Ms. Williams even looked at what contemporary (and effective) designers are doing these days? Helvetica is alive and flourishing.Read more ›
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