Customer Reviews: Typographic Design: Form and Communication
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Customer Reviews

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on July 4, 2004
I have been a graphic designer for over 20 years. I teach typography at the university level. I learned typography the old-fashioned way: by specifying, setting, and manipulating it by hand. From that background I can confidently state that THE best way to truly understand how type works is through understanding the forms of letters, words, and groups of words.
Students trying to understand typography today have a huge disincentive to slow down and truly study how type works and that is, the speed of the computer. It's easy to go right past the fundamentally subtle nature of letterforms and combinations thereof. You can't understand type at the pace that you can pull down a menu and select a typeface while rushing to get to the more exciting steps of design.
This book is one of the very best for SHOWING what type is really about. Comments about the layout of the book and the size of artwork in it should not dissuade students and instructors; this book will show you what type IS and how it works in design.
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I imagine this book working well as a text for an introductory course on typography. Part of that impression comes from the clear need for an instructor to tie the material together and bring it to life with practical exercises.

The format addresses an audience that reasons in visual terms. Each two page spread, sometimes each page presents a complete thought. Illustration demonstrates each of the points made. The first section presents a history in sound-bites, highlighting the history of print and placing it in historical context. Next, about fifteen pages establish the anatomy of a character and typeface, and the words that describe it. Successive chapters describe basic visual hierarchy and composition, page formatting and legibility, technology as of 1993, and samples from typographic curricula at colleges around the US. The last and larger half of the book presents case studies in a few pages each, then nearly 100 pages of type specimens. Each specimen appears in enlarged form, making important details easily visible. Next, the specimen appears in several examples of body text, giving the font's real reading experience at several point sizes and spacings.

This book does a fair job with the basics, and educators may find ideas that will help their own classrooms. Experienced typographers, even students taking their second course, will bottom out quickly. Your experience of this book will depend on how you use it. A good instructor could find it a helpful adjunct, but self-taught students won't get the direction they look for.

-- wiredweird
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on January 2, 2007
Definitely a must have. If you are going to own only 3 books on design this should be one of them.

Covers the basics of typography in great detail and then goes on to discuss how it has been implemented through history. Great solid content and great examples, like most of Meggs work.
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on July 13, 2008
I had the privilege to have Phil Meggs for Type I in which we used this book. This book in conjunction with his instruction provided me with an invaluable foundation in the understanding of type and it's use as a communication tool. It's a must in any graphic designers library.
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on November 26, 2015
Love it!
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on May 28, 2003
This is one of the rare books that my art college actually required me to purchase for a Typography class. The design of this book is poor and very dated. Just take a look at the cover. The first chapter offers a timeline which is interesting in concept--it features a brief history of lettering and type, and adds images of other significant events happening at the same time. But the timeline design forces you to jump back and forth from images to text and the grid layout forces the image placement to be so inconsistent that you give up trying to find the corresponding text. The rest of the book provides interesting and useful information for the type neophyte, but again, its WAY too dated to be a required textbook. I'm sorry I bought this book.
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on February 6, 2006
This is a great text book for graphic designers to have in their library. It provides a lot of visuals and information designers should be familiarized with.
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on September 4, 1998
Very well organized, structured, etc, etc.... but, can you believe the illustrations of posters and printed examples in this book have NO INFORMATION ABOUT THE ACTUAL SIZE of them????? What happened??? Were all designers doing postcards and stamps before our time??? Shame on the authors, shame on the publishers.
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