- 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 (151 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,677 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 ›
Bringhurst does an excellent job of laying out a series of rules and guidelines, while making it clear that these are a starting point, a foundation for good type design, not a set of limitations. He is a poet as well as a typographer, and his eloquence pays tribute to the field as no one else has.
The book features a good deal on the evolution of typography and includes great side-by-side comparisons of typefaces to illustrate specific points. He also deals extensively with punctuation marks, diacritics and the duty/joy of designing type with languages other than English in mind. I find myself returning again and again to the section on the subtleties of page proportions. He also achieves the nearly impossible balance of singing the praises of the old masters while not being afraid of the best of what's new and experimental.
Bringhurst advocates a subdued typographic style. This makes good sense in the vast majority of cases, since typography is the servant of the text that it carries. Like any good servant, it should be unobtrusive, well dressed, and competent to handle every task it is given, quietly and promptly. Bringhurst demonstrates nearly everything he says, starting first with this book itself.
The book is a beautiful artifact, with an elegant and informative page layout. Body text, side- and foot-notes, references, running titles, and more - they all fit together well on the page. Each kind of information is set off only slightly, but clearly and predictably. The content is well organized: prose in the early chapters, reference material in the later chapters and appendices, and all the intermediates in the middle of the book. Diagrams and tables are minimalist and communicative.
The text spans centuries, from ancient Egyptian page layouts to the rationale behind Unicode. Bringhurst is passionate about typography's history, and insists that it inform every modern decision about print and printing. He embraces the new just as much, and is careful to note the strengths and weaknesses of each typographic technology.
Bringhurst discusses far too many topics to touch on here. In every case, though, he brings his poet's sense to all of the writing, using witty, descriptive language for even the most mundane of technical issues. The one weakness I saw was in the geometry of page layouts. I like his mathematical rigor and esthetic practicality.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Must ready for any graphic designer or anyone interested in type.Published 9 months ago by David Moffitt
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 15 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 16 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 16 months ago by GingerH
Classic typography book. Arrived in great condition — new as promised.Published 16 months ago by Francesco A Belvedere