- 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 (184 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,363 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
Beautifully written and very, very honest. This and James Felici's Complete Manual are the only two volumes needed for any typography enthusaist. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Richard Klassen
This is an excellent book that covers not only detailed information about the usage of typography but much history as well. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kep
Commits brand dilution against "The Elements of Style", a tight, 105 page book where every page has something you could reference while writing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by B. Hill
This is a book that really helped pique my interest in typography back when the first edition was published. Read morePublished 4 months ago by David Irving
Can't really compare to The Anatomy of a Typeface; in which I would have given 6/5, but hey it's a good book.Published 6 months ago by Gjermund G Thorsen