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The Elements of Typographic Style Paperback – 1 Sep 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hartley & Marks Publishers (1 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881792063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881792065
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 13.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jon on 19 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a very useful book, but sometimes rather opinionated. For instance, Bringhurst passionately detests 'titling figures' that is, numbers of even height set on the line, 01234... He wants us to always use 'text figures', numerals that I can't show here, where the tails of 4 and 9 hang below the line, and 8 is taller than the rest. He scorns titling figures as 'middle-class' and 'illiterate', fit only for classified ads.

He is also inconsistent in his prejudices. Italic faces were first made in the middle ages only in lower case, so had to be used with upright capitals and brackets etc. Bringhurst tells us that because of this history, we must today always use upright, not sloped, brackets with italics. But he quietly accepts and uses sloped capitals with italics in his own book.

Despite these oddities, this is an enlightening and helpful book.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By D. W. Kessler on 30 Jun 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've got dozens of books about type and typography. This is by far the best. It is clear, intelligent, scholarly and practical. It is also beautifully written, well designed and often downright funny.
If you know a designer or typophile who doesn't own this yet, buy it for them.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Black Box on 13 Nov 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book when I became (briefly) the editor of a corporate newsletter some years ago. It was the only useful purchase I made, and served to open up whole new typographic vistas that I didn't even know existed. But be warned it deals exclusively in subtlety and artifice - there is no post-modernist digital age brashness here - but learn the lessons and you will become very, very good, without anyone else ever knowing how. The book is both witty and enjoyably informative, a combination that means it's an easy read from cover to cover. And it's own typography is beyond reproach, quite beautiful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BrentL on 19 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable book. First of all, it is beautiful: beautifully typeset and laid out in a beautiful format on beautiful paper. Prof. Bringhurst's love of his subject, clearly witnessed by the level of detail of his exposition, makes this book a delight to read both as a narrative, binding together the historic and modern arts of typography and booksetting, and as a reference source from well before mutton to well after pilcrow.

Why, then, do I say it is dangerous? Simply this: I makes me completely dissatisfied with every piece of electronic publishing I have ever done. Books, manuals, papers, letters, business cards: all mediocre scratchings.

Prof. Bringhurst is, in this book, a master of the art of damnation through faint praise. His analysis of the broken kerning of Times New Roman, while quite reserved and polite, show by clear example just how badly broken it is -- it needs no other condemnation -- and should make all those users of MS Word's default font family squirm at their keyboards.

Notable, too, by their complete absence, are a number of font families that many of us take for granted, but I won't name them here, except for Comic Sans. The author is not writing for web users, though he does mention, briefly and adequately, the problems of showing a decent text on a computer screen. I suspect his silence is to draw a veil over what for him must be some of the most depressing items of typographic experience.

Finally, this book is not for everyone. It needs a little persistence to read; and you will need a degree of curiosity about at least one aspect of fonts and typesetting to enjoy it. But given these pre-requisites, enjoyment is guaranteed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Squeeze my Pips on 21 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
read and understand what makes great design . . . the secret is in typography . . . often overlooked by people yet done properly it completes the visual message.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By typo on 28 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
I received this book on time and immediately started reading it. I found the book compelling reading as the further I read, the more it made sense.

Some of the theoretical elements do not appear to be well explained to me and it's necessary to use blind faith to believe what the book says about some proportions (as it is not entirely clear how and when these should be applied), but overall, a very worthwhile book and a great addition to the subject.
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By Ben Attenborough on 6 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A brilliant book which is a must for all typographers
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