- 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 (250 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students 2 Rev Exp Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Nor is the theory argued through. Worse, the author—by the end of the book—offers no concrete opinions of her own on this or any other matter. Then, while you’re working your way through this indulgent muddle, page 102 suddenly appears heralding the topic of “kerning”. What? Are we back to the hands-on again?
A couple of typos were found and one item of errata. On page 156, there’s a reference to “quote marks” in an 18th century grid-manuscript that are actually double baseline commas.
Finally, the book spoils its overall feel (like many other books in the genre) with the inclusion of “exercises”—cementing itself as a college or high school text rather than a tool for working pros. Leave reinforcement to the classroom. Professionals seeking a resource in typography simply want to work.
As for the final section, “Appendix”, this is a nice little armory of InDesign shortcuts. But the inclusion of free hand editing and proofreading scribbles is irrelevant. And the “Free Advice” quotes of thinkers in the typographical realm are contradictory, if not insipid. For example, “fill the page with text”, but “less is more”.
In a nutshell, what appears a nice physical reference for the working desk is in fact a mash of hands-on generalization and theoretical-irrelevancy. It’s difficult to navigate, soft on practicality, poorly explained, and bettered by other texts on the market such as “Type Rules” (though it too is filled with school assignments).
Don’t blink on page 103. You’ll miss the whole concept of “word spacing” hidden at the bottom in red italics and 36 words as a mere aside, called a “Nerd Alert”.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read for all typography lovers