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Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students 2 Rev Exp Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 223 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1568989693
ISBN-10: 1568989695
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ellen Lupton is curator of contemporary design at the Cooper- Hewitt Museum and director of the MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the author of "Thinking with Type "and "D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself, "and with her sister Julia Lupton, "Design Your Life."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 2 Rev Exp edition (October 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568989695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568989693
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By kenk on November 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent resource for anyone who is serious about graphic layout. It is not a type book; it does not review fonts individually. Rather, it considers type as a visual element. Accessibly written, someone new to the field could use it, as well as experienced graphic artists and those for whom the page is important. A good investment for the artist on a budget, too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've used "Thinking with Type" for the last year and a half in the typography classes that I teach. I thought the first edition was a useful tool. Then one of my students ordered this one, and let me look at it...and I was amazed at all of the new information (like a separate page each for numbers, punctuation, and ornaments) and examples that had been added. I ordered it for myself as soon as possible, and will be recommending the second edition to all of my students from now on.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“Thinking with Type” (2010) is a nicely presented physical offering comfortably proportioned, with robust softcover and semi-gloss hardwearing paper stock. And that’s pretty much where its marketability ends.

When first published in 2004 I don’t doubt that it may have been a “thinking person’s” choice when evaluating the realm of type, but today it has been eclipsed by some broader and better organized competitors—and for that matter, some older classic texts—whose helpfulness offers superior relevancy.

Broken into four sections: Letter, Text, Grid, and Appendix the book starts promisingly. “Letter” provides a short history of type peppering throughout a number of useful hints both grammatical and mechanical: the latter with software such as InDesign in mind. This section lends itself to note taking and introduces the concept of the “Type Crime” where typographical faux pas are revealed.

It’s with the following section “Text”, that things begin to fall off the practicality rails not to righten till near end, on page 199 (of 224), with the introduction of the baseline grid.

Starting with the “Text” section, the author drifts away in a transcendental theoretical exploration of contextual incoherence. Its aim seems to be the assertion that since 2004, the author has become aware of the Internet and web-based styling—and that it’s “really important”. So much so, the author quotes typographical-philosophical thinkers who proclaim the advent of the “user” rather than the “reader”, and that it’s the designer’s role to assist the user getting away from reading through application of the typographical art…just help users navigate to the little information they seek.

It’s just that the book isn’t structured in this way.
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This book had an initial very strong appeal to me, that quickly wore off. While the title of the book seems to suggest that the principle topic of the book is typography, it is not. Rather, it is a manual of modern design ideas. Ellen suggests that her goal is not to encourage readability, but to encourage the reader not to read. I quote "Although many books define the purpose of typography as enhancing the readability of the written word, one of design's most humane functions is, in actuality, to help readers avoid reading." This thinking is quite consistent with the decontructionist philosophical school that she tends to often quote, especially with Jacques Derrida. That is fine and dandy, except that the fact that Ellen is writing something suggests that she hopes that somebody will read what she writes. She is correct about one thing, that this book was not easy of the eyes to read. Her efforts to be different or unconventional made it very tense to get through her book. The book is laden with illustrations and the first impression of the plethora of examples of design that she provides is that they are cute. Subsequent impressions of her examples are less complementary, in that they are a tremendous strain on the reader (user, if you wish) to interpret the message being conveyed. Unfortunately, as she has received many favorable comments on Amazon.com, there will be many budding young graphic designers out there trying to establish their position in the world of graphic design, and are spurred by this book to be bizarre rather than effective in communicating an idea. If one has no ideas or thoughts to communicate, then this book is excellent for you.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have bought countless ebook on Amazon, and this is the worst "ebook" ever.
They simply scanned the book, not converting them to ebook format for reading on Kindle or mobile revide.
Worse, I can not download it for reading on my Kindle PC (not compatible).
I gave up reading and will order a paperback version.
3 Comments 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This book was suggested to me on Amazon because of other books I ordered on graphically displaying data, and I'm so happy it was! This book has easy-read essays about letters, text, and grids, all followed by some specific do's and don't's, and ideas/exercises to consider, all without being too preachy and laying the groundwork for you to make your own decisions about how to display text. I'm an urban planning & design student and I loved this book- I think anyone who will ever create anything from a report to a poster to a presentation should read it.
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