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Great intro book for aspiring type designers
on September 29, 2009
Acknowledging that "mastering the art of arranging letters in space and time is essential knowledge for anyone who crafts communications for page or screen," this book's focus is on letterforms themselves and even creating them (type design) rather than on arranging them beautifully (typography). Type design is an art (or perhaps 'craft' would be a better word) that requires a blend of both technical and visual skills, and in fact covers such a broad range of disciplines that it can be somewhat intimidating. But, this book seems to provide a "friendly, openhearted introduction" to type design, with a brief overview of the history of the written and printed word, typeface classification and terminology, case studies and type design exercises. There are also interviews with some of the luminaries in this field, including renowned type designer Christian Schwartz, whom I remember when he was starting out at the age of 14!
As in any visual art, type design is a matter of developing your eye, so learning to really look at letters critically is essential. The chapter of this book that I think might be most helpful to the beginning type designer is appropriately titled "Designing Typefaces", which illustrates many of the subtle tricks a designer must use to compensate for optical illusions and such. This is the one area that separates professional type designers from the wannabes, and I must confess that I'm still trying to master it. So, I suggest book-marking this chapter. [...]