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A Typographic Workbook: A Primer to History, Techniques, and Artistry 2nd Edition

35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471696902
ISBN-10: 0471696900
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The bestselling guide to mastering the concepts and skills for successfully designing with type

Welcome to a fascinating tour of the innovative potential of type—A Typographic Workbook, Second Edition. Lavishly illustrated with more than 450 images, this Second Edition clearly explains the process successful designers use to select, space, and creatively integrate fonts. The only book of its kind to combine the history of typography with practical application and technology, A Typographic Workbook clearly illustrates the use of type as a dynamic and expressive communication tool.

This edition provides new and updated coverage of a broad range of topics—from a logical, clear historical overview of the craft to the latest digital technologies. Known for its highly interactive format, this Second Edition continues to include helpful review questions and multiple-choice quizzes, as well as many new projects and skill-building exercises that help readers immediately apply what they have learned. Other special features of this handy workbook include:

  • Coverage of new digital technologies
  • A clear historical overview of type and typographic technologies
  • In-depth explanations of the formal qualities of different typefaces
  • Fundamental coverage of computer terms and principles
  • A newly added characters per pica (CPP) chart
  • Charts of standard paper sizes and envelope dimensions
  • Examples of standard folding conventions for brochures

A Typographic Workbook, Second Edition is a valuable professional resource for working designers and an indispensable training tool for graphic design students.

About the Author

KATE CLAIR is a general partner in Hats-Off Impressions, a design firm based in Binghamton, New York. She is also a faculty member in the Communication Design Department at Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.

CYNTHIA BUSIC-SNYDER is Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Coordinator of Graphic Design Studies in the Department of Art at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (August 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471696900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471696902
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent starting place for any newbie designer/typographer (despite the shortcomings of occasional poor typography as mentioned in other reviews). It's very difficult to find a book that covers the breadth and depth of this one, yet still manages to deal with fundamental issues in a very readable and accessible way. You won't find another book as comprehensive and practical as this one!
The beauty of the book lies in its ability to reveal ALL the tools and skills you require, in a no-nonsense style, to create legible and artistic type. Your work won't win awards after reading it, but you will be armed with all the practical concepts you need to work with type in a competent and creative manner. I get the impression from the tone of the text that it's written for a young audience, maybe first-year college students, so the writing can sometimes belabor seemingly straight-forward concepts.
The numerous exercises are designed to impart the nuts-and-bolts techniques of how to use type in a practical yet expressive way. Most of the projects are concerned with the mechanics of legibility and information hierarchy, as well as kerning, tracking, leading and ligatures etc. The history sections are also very informative and outline the expansion of writing systems and technologies throughout human social development.
After reading this and completing the exercises, the reader could comfortably move onto a more advanced treatises on type like "The Elements of Typographic Style" by Bringhurst or "Type in Use" by White, equipped with a well-grounded foundation to absorb more technical/conceptual information.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Simulacrum on March 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a 370-page college-level textbook about the use of printed letterforms, or what is more widely and commonly known as Òtypography.Ó It is surprisingly ambitious, in the sense that it makes an attempt to discuss an enormous range of issues, large and small, related to the history, theory, and practice of typographic design. The result, which interweaves an astonishing amount of text with hundreds (maybe thousands) of black-and-white illustrations (of mixed quality), is easily enough to fill two or three volumes. The first 270 pages consist of 20 chapters with such general headings as ÒReadability and Legibility,Ó ÒTypographic Hierarchy,Ó and ÒThe Grid Structure.Ó Within each chapter, there are a dozen or more subsections on such topics as ÒDesigning with Two Families of Type,Ó ÒLetterspacing and Its Effect on Readability,Ó and ÒColor Symbolism Through Time.Ó Intended to function also as a type specimen book, it ends with 75 pages of type samples, while, throughout the volume, the texts on the pages are purposely set in varying type styles, with annotations about typeface, size, and leading. How admirable to have put all this information under one cover. Yet, sadly, it suffers the critical flaw that, too often, the typography and layout of the book contradict its own principles. For example, nearly all the text is set in 8.5 point type with 12 point leading, regardless of typeface. While convenient for type comparisons, the effect of this is devastating for the reader, since some type styles can survive dense paragraphs at that setting, while others cannot.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Heidi L. Carrier on June 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
I agree with many of the previous reviewers who have remarked on the poor writing style throughout this book! The historical sections are particularly awkward, as though the author did some research and simply tried to rephrase the content (usually unsuccessfully!). Though I was quite put-off by the writing style (or lack thereof), I did press on. What I found was a plethora of good information, useful side bar examples, and creative exercises. There is good content here, but it can be a lot of work to find and absorb it.

I would love to see a new edition of this book, where the author could work more closely with an editor to develop a clear, stronger voice, resulting in a useable teaching tool. If such an edition were to be written, I would suggest a few improvements:

1. Reorganize the sections. The book doesn't flow well from chapter to chapter, and the reader feels directionless while proceeding through the book. Although the history is fascinating, it opens the book and goes on for quite some time. I found myself wanting to skip ahead. Also, it would make more sense to me to discuss the Five Historic Families of Type immediately after the Parts of a Character, rather than throwing the topics of 20th c. Typography and Changes in Printing Technology in the middle.

2. Consider eliminating the technique of switching typefaces every few pages. Yes, the reader does get a sense of which typefaces are more easily read than others at that size/leading, but is it really a good idea to tire and frustrate the reader while attempting to instruct?

3. Eliminate or re-work the introductions. If it is neccesary to give an outline of upcoming topics, perhaps present it as a list rather than writing it out in as a paragraph?
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