- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (16 Sept. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568984480
- ISBN-13: 978-1568984483
- Product Dimensions: 18 x 1.3 x 21.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 383,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, and Students (Design Briefs) Paperback – 16 Sep 2004
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More About the Author
About the Author
Ellen Lupton is one of America's preeminent design educators and PAPress's all-time bestselling author. Her books include Skin, Inside Design Now, Design Culture Now, Mixing Messages, and Letters from the Avant Garde, among others. She is director of the design program at Maryland Institute of Art and Design and Curator at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
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Top Customer Reviews
Overall idea of the book
Always using history as a guide, the author shows how the letters and texts can influence the way we see a piece of design and how we can improve readability by following some rules. Personally, one of these tips that really caught my attention was: When using stacked letters - like the ones on spines of books - we should always use small caps with centred column. Maybe this is common sense to some people, but for me it was something that I had never realized.
The book is also very rich on examples. Fonts familiar to most designers - or anyone in the field - are presented and described throughout the pages. Futura, for example, was designed in the late 20's by Paul Renner who sought on "honest expression of technical processes". But be warned, as the author constantly says, this is not a book about fonts.
"The relationships among letters in a font are more important than the identity of individual characters."
History or Design Book?
If you are not into history and want to get straight to the technical part you might want to skip a few pages, but by doing this you'll miss the best part of the book, like when the author explains the reason of the terms uppercase and lowercase: in the old printshops, they used to store the case of the capital letter in the upper drawer).Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I plan to require this book in the undergraduate typography class I teach, but because it is accessible even to a novice, I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in type. One of the strengths of the book is its succinctness, but that may be one flaw as well. When a book is so well done, you want more... (Fortunately there is a website which does have supporting materials for those who want more.) Also if you want a meaty book on the specifics of type, then you should also get Robert Bringhurst's phenomenal book "The Elements of Typographic Style." It pairs so well with the overview and examples from Lupton's book.
It is a terrific value and well-produced.
The section on typography, the largest section of the book, was a very interesting read. I enjoyed learning about the history of printing and typography. Beginning designers will appreciate the categorizing of typefaces. This leads into the discussion of electronic typesetting and the limitations and challenges that has created for designers.
Lupton's book shed a lot of light on different strategies for organizing type, graphics, and pictures on my own layouts. Unlike many other books on graphic design, Lupton's book was down-to-earth and was easy for a non-designer (like myself) to understand. It used some meaningful practical examples, instead of relying on art school projects that have limited real-life applications.
The section on grids was one of the most easy to understand that I have ever come across. It also gave many examples of grids that can be incorporated for page layout. Lupton also gave a decent low-level overview on the golden section, but she did not give enough of examples of how the golden section can be used as a more flexible grid.
One of my favourite parts of her book is the section on proofreading where she has one of the best proofreader's marking charts that I have ever seen. I have used this resource on complex projects like annual reports with agency graphic designers. No more second-guessing edits, Lupton's list captures it all. In fact, a lot of the designers and account reps who have used it with me consider it to be a time (and money) saver.
This book is probably too basic for seasoned designers, but if you just bought a copy of InDesign, or you're working in a corporate communications department and expected to create some basic layouts, you will take away a lot of good ideas and principles from this book. It covers off on many of the principles of good design without leaving you feeling overwhelmed.
I judge books on not only the amount of information they communicate, but also the accessibility of the information, the clarity of the visuals, the design of the pages, and--last, but not least--the price.
Ellen Luppon's Thinking With Type scores well on all standards. It's also one of the few books that has important things to say about online type.
At its remably low price, you can't buy a more useful book for learning from the past and setting computer-based type on the basis of what others have done previously.