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Typographic Web Design: How to Think Like a Typographer in HTML and CSS [Paperback]

Laura Franz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

2 Dec 2011
Learn how to use typography on the web Typography has long been an invaluable tool for communicating ideas and information. Words and characters once impressed in clay, written on papyrus, and printed with ink are now manifest in pixels of light. Today′s web typographers can help their readers find, understand, and connect with the words, ideas, and information they seek. Thus, legibility and readability are the foundations for the typographic theories and practice covered in Typographic Web Design. You′ll learn how to choose fonts, organize information, create a system of hierarchy, work with tabular information, create a grid, apply a typographic system across multiple pages, and build a font library. Each chapter provides time–tested typography rules to follow (modified for the web), explains why they work, when to break them, and offers the opportunity to test the rules with hands–on exercises in HTML and CSS. If you don′t know HTML and CSS, Typographic Web Design provides a walk–through for each lesson, showing you how to plan and write syntax. Readers are sure to come away with an understanding of typographic principles, as well as the HTML and CSS skills needed to implement them on the web. Typographic Web Design •Applies decades of typographic theory and practice (e.g., how to choose a font) directly to web design (e.g., how to use the @font–face property in CSS). •Clearly explains all typographic rules presented, providing examples that contrast successful and less successful typographic solutions. •Is written for visual thinkers. The book is supported by a web site with solutions, critiques, and revisions for each lesson. Laura Franz is an Associate Professor of Design at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where she has taught web typography for 12 years. She has presented lectures and workshops on Typographic Web Design, and has written a course on the topic for Lynda.com.  

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (2 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1119976871
  • ISBN-13: 978-1119976875
  • Product Dimensions: 24.5 x 20 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 535,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 9 Aug 2012
By Clivery
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, very informative and useful. Came to me on time and in perfect condition. If you're looking to learn web design, buy it!

Thank you!
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, wow, wowzers! 1 Mar 2012
By Dave Edmiston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I use different standards to evaluate a book depending on what I'm reading: I judge fiction one way, non-fiction another way, and technical writing yet another. My 9-5 job is technical writing, so I judge technical books with my harshest set of criteria.

It's rare that I'm dazzled by a technical book--it just doesn't happen.

Typographic Web Design is one of those rare cases where I find myself truly dazzled by a technical publication. It's well organized, well thought out, well presented, well written, and it contains amazing content. Without condescending to the reader, Laura Franz starts out with some basics and then increases the curve with each chapter.

The chapters in Part 1 start off with some basic topics that most of us already know, or THINK we already know, but the topics are covered at a level where just about anybody is bound to learn a thing or two (I know I did). She starts out with the basics of picking a font. It sounds so simple, but picking a font can really be agonizing. She discusses the basics of readability as well as the emotional message that the typeface conveys. She also touches on some very basic HTML and CSS concepts. These concepts are critical for this book, because the later chapters contain plenty of code. She also explains the concept of picking two fonts for a page: a title font and a body font. That seems to be where so many folks go wrong and clutter the page with too many different fonts, yech!

Part 2 explains the physical layout of the page and chunking the topics physically and conceptually.

Part 3 seems to take a step backwards in discussing how we read, with concepts like case, weight, and color. But this quickly makes sense as she introduces a concept called "the grid" and discusses various ways of laying out the page in a grid to make the content more readable.

Part 4 discusses the three typographic styles: traditional, modernist, and post-modernist. This is a shorter section, but it challenges you to make decisions about the look and feel of your pages. I appreciate the way she forces you to confront this as a conscious decision rather than simply going with what feels right.

Each of these major parts of the book are separated by "interludes". I found this to be refreshing as a reader and brilliant as a writer. These interludes are topics that don't quite fit into the other parts of the book. If the book is organized into parts for round holes, square holes, and triangular holes, what do you do with a topic that isn't a round peg or square or triangular? Her answer was to create these somewhat unrelated interludes where you could take a little breather from the content and consider something different for a moment. The interludes also provide hands on exercises. I found this to be brilliant: she managed to slip in these other topics without having to create otherwise awkward sections in the book.

The other thing that impressed me with this book is how well she crossed over from online to print. This book is all about presenting content in HTML pages, but she tricked the reader into forgetting that this is a physical book. The layout and format of the book is attractive and effective and the dissonance of considering online topics in a printed book never seemed to be an issue.

I tip my hat to Laura Franz. She's obviously a pro at typography and page design. And she put her expertise into an incredibly valuable handbook. I'm looking forward to putting some of these concepts to use. I'm glad to have this book on my desk.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars if all the world used computers to browse the web 19 April 2012
By M. Stewart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an excellent book on typography and web page design, but it has one huge issue. It assumes everyone reading your web page is doing so using a computer with a fairly large monitor. The entire book is based on laying things out in terms of pixels, assuming you have a high resolution monitor. The online world is now often accessed by phones and tablets, and e-readers in larger numbers every day. There, now I have that off my chest.

This book is chock full of information on typefaces and the various characteristics of them that affect readability, and the feel of the web page. I thought I knew a lot about typography, but I learned a lot. The book does a good job of leading you through the basics of designing web pages using both HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to obtain the look you want. I do have some objections on how she uses (or abuses) various features of HTML and CSS to get a certain look. She avoids using HTML elements such as <em> or <cite> to mark emphasized or citations parts of text; rather she uses CSS classes or IDs to format them. The way she uses divisions to place elements on a page will certainly fail for smaller web browsers. They could also make the content harder to follow for accessibility, such as screen readers for the visually impaired. But the overall philosophy is rock solid and very helpful. There are plenty of examples to illustrate various points, such as how a certain font size in one typeface looks larger than the same font size in another typeface.

Another limitation of the book is that it doesn't address printing at all; there should be at least some mention of constraints to consider for printed output.

The book lists a web site where you can download the examples from the text to help save tedious typing. Just be aware that the files are encrypted, but are easily read without any special steps. I just about panicked when my computer asked me for the first time about wanting me to back up encryption key stores for my files! I finally figured out that the sample files triggered the message.

Overall, a valuable resource, but just beware the narrow view of how web pages are viewed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Private Instruction 26 Feb 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Laura Franz has produced one of the more valuable tools to those who work in web design - be they accomplished pros or advanced beginners. No, that is not fair to say, because anyone truly vested in learning how to create formal documents or aesthetically pleasing preparations for whatever reason on the computer, this guide will get you there. TYPOGRAPHIC WEB DESIGN - aptly subtitled 'How to think like a typographer in HTML and CSS.

In this book Franz takes us step by step through the process of learning about typefaces, and where or how to find them on the computer. And once sound, she show us how to work with those fonts in ways that will make the finished document look as professional as any Typography Shop would be able to offer. She discusses all aspects of typography web design - from teaching us how we read and perceive graphic information, the psychology of different fonts and placements to the professional business references to the purely aesthetic aspects of making documents in HTML and CSS seem the product of the pros.

Much of what Franz gives us requires a thorough knowledge of how the computer works and those aspects will be particularly helpful to people who have the assignment of creating presentations and documents for professional companies. But there is sufficient time spent on a more basic level that allows anyone with a basic training in design to advance beyond the starting point. And isn't that what any fine textbook should do - prepare the reader/student for the next level which lies within the covers of the book being read? This is a handsome addition to the field of web design. Grady Harp, February 12
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, A Bachelor's Degree of Typography in a Single Book 4 Mar 2013
By Bryan Newman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
OK, maybe not a Bachelor's degree because the book is too practical. But I have never felt so educated about Typography as when I finished this book. And a it is a very much practical education that I have immediately put into use in my webdesign. I have read and reviewed a lot of web books and I often end up feeling that there was potential that wasn't reached. This is an example of a book reaching its potential.

I especially appreciated the integration of CSS into the book. I am a latecomer to fully utilizing CSS and I felt it was handled perfectly in this book. I can't tell you how much has moved from the HTML code to the style sheet with this book. Also, I really appreciate that the author's handling of design concepts such as gridding which is not new to me, but while working through the book, I "fixed" the grid on all my web templates.

The book is functionally illustrated. The figures are not visually arresting, and this is not a coffee table book, but the images and examples work. Looking back through the book, I realize this may not be the most beautiful book in my web design library, but it was one of the most useful.

Pros
+ Very Practical digestible information
+ Clearly illustrated examples
+ A Useful Reference
+ Brilliant

Cons
- A little dense, hard to refind some information I was looking for (now highlighted)

Summary
I keep coming back to the word practical, and I think that is the greatest praise I can give to a book like this. It is practical, and I can vouch that I put this reading directly into practice. This is the best Web Design resource I have gotten in a long time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty here for a back-end programmer or a front-end designer 20 Jan 2013
By Z. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a web developer, I spend a good deal of time writing code for systems that will live online. I agonize over every little class, object and method but when it comes to the front-end design I tend to just want to get something out there. I know a good design when I see one but I find it hard to come up with those myself (or even think about how to do so). Among other concepts, this book explains fonts (how to pick one, how many to use on a page, why to choose specific fonts, what a specific font says to your readers/users, etc.) as well as layout and why certain layouts are better/more visually appealing than others.

And the author, Laura Franz, does all this without ever getting confusing (or simplifying too much). There are plenty of code examples and regardless of whether you're more of a back-end developer or a front-end designer, you'll probably find something in here that's helpful.

And as a bit of a side note, it's nice that the book itself is well put together. The pages are made of a nice glossy material and there are plenty of colors throughout the book. Most technical guide books are black and white so I really appreciated the additional effort put into the design here.
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