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Finer Points in the Spacing & Arrangement of Type (Classic Typography Series) Paperback – April 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Classic Typography Series
  • Paperback: 90 pages
  • Publisher: Hartley & Marks; Subsequent edition (April 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881791199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881791198
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,422,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By W. Todd Dominey on November 24, 2000
If there were no other options for book buyers looking for an informative reference on classic typography, then "Finer Points" would be an essential book to buy. But because I've also read "The Elements of Typographic Style" there is little point in owning "Finer Points," for "Elements" covers everything here plus a whole lot more. I purchased "Finer Points" after reading "Elements" thinking there may be more offered here, but most of the imformation is duplicated. I suggest gettng "Elements" instead. A complete, well-designed, more up-to-date reference than this one.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Big Mau on March 24, 2000
Are you obssesed with typography? Do you have a good library for your personal typographic needs? Do you have an adiction for the very specific typography? I recommend this book only for the people that have the courage (and the money) to read more about typography. If you are a student, or a beginner in professional affairs, I doubt you need this book. For the others... what are you waiting for? I think strongly that if you really focus in the essence of each chapter you will understand more (but only a little more) of this small but important matter that is the space on typography.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JB on September 5, 2000
Many years ago when I was studying Apple Computer's QuickDraw GX technology, I was amazed by the way old timers set their removable types, and how difficult it was to implement their tricks to the digital realm. If you're interested in the ways they set hotmetal types, this book is for you.
For example, this book introduces you optical alignment. That is a trick to compose a drop capital letter a little bit left, so your eyes will see it as _fully aligned_ instead of caved in a little. Even if you don't use TrueType GX (I doubt any of you ever use it), this book still can teach you a lot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 14, 2005
This is a brief book, under 60 pages, dedicated to just one topic: visual spacing of type. Within that field, it addresses mostly the visual spacing of body text. It's not a wide range to cover, but Dowding covers it in detail, with many instructive examples.

Just about everything in this booklet derives from one principle: obeying the visual mass of the letterforms. That usually means, for example, spacing the letter T as if it were narrower than the spindly arms at the top. When justifying columns of text, it means that periods, commas, and single-quotes may extend beyond the normal border of the text block. Those sorts have so much white in the piece of the line they occupy, that they have almost no visual mass all.

The biggest part of the discussion centers on word spacing and letter spacing. Dowding is adamant about tight spacing within words and even, narrow spacing between words. Given the vagaries of word length and line length, this means that the typographer should be able to choose whether to use contractions or not, to choose '&' instead of 'and', and so on as needed to adjust the line density.

Dowding presents a number of bad examples, not all of them intentionally. On p.17 near the bottom, for example, a few consecutive lines end in punctuation, justified with the text. That unintended indentation looks a little like a car with a dented fender. P.35 shows an ambiguity between the running titles and a section title - the kind of ambiguity that typography should resolve. And repeatedly, p.5 for example, it may take a few moments to realize that one is reading sample text, not the exposition itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger C. Parker on June 10, 2005
I discovered the latest edition iof Finer Points in the Spacing and Arrangement of Type, and was impressed by the value it offered--especially since it sells new for a small percentage of the high cost of the original hardcover edition.

Although the rules of setting easy-to-read type have been known for centuries, sometimes the most inspirational writing is to be found in books that are considered inter-generational "classics."

Geoffrey Dowding's Finer Points in the Spacing and Arrangement of Type provides an excellent and highly accessible review of the basics of text alignment and spacing. Its warmth and style drives home information you may already be familiar with, but never really "noticed."

This book is one of those "gems" that puts newer, more clinical, books to shame.
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