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on 15 August 2003
This is a great read for someone who has never considered type before. Those graphic design graduates who were never taught type in ground-up way, self-tought pros wanting to learn some theory or for editors, subs or marketing people who are now doubling-up as designers. It really makes you share the authors' total enthusiasm for type, although there are other equally clear introductions that are either cheaper or offer more. If you want hard knowledge rather than enjoyable prose check out The Mac is Not a Typewriter, Rauari McClean's pre-DTP Manual of Typography, or About Face by Rotovision.
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on 26 July 2004
I'm a typography novice. Before reading this book, I thought the font Gaudi was named after the architect of La Sagrada Familia.
The book is written in a down-to-earth tone of voice that held my interest. It gives a good introduction to the use of grids in layout and why they are so important. Basics such as x-height, linespacing, letterspacing and ligatures are covered. Some intriguing typographical history is worked in to give explanation to the current state of type. Most pages give samples of popular fonts.
You'll probably have to do a lot more reading and practicing before becoming a typographic expert, but this little book covers a lot of relevant information for the novice in an accessible manner. Several times, the author makes mention of today's cheap paperback novels that are produced without any thought to good design. This book isn't one of those. Each page has been painstakingly well designed, and the price tag shows it.
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on 10 June 1999
Today, web information is mostly text. Case in point, you are reading this. Trouble is text on most sites is not appealing. To increase the text appeal of my sites I turned to this book.
The book is a good introduction to typography and a very fast read, under 3 hours. Good for beginners; however, it left me wanting more. It was more like a 10pm news trailer -- woman found walking city streets with nothing on but a hockey mask. I was expecting a book to explain what specific font conveys. Instead the book provides example situations and suggested fonts.
I give it four-stars, and try to find the next book on the subject.
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on 28 February 2004
This book is beautifully presented and easily read but the content maybe a little too thin. However I suppose it's an introductory text that tries to get the reader to get a feel for what is a highly specialised art form. Half the pages are illustrations while the text is allowed a generous amount of space. Some of the more important or factually based information is set in smaller type and acts as a prompt for the reader to investigate further. Effectively it's a book that creates a mood that once you've grasped can lead you on to more hardcore texts such as Elements in Typographic Style or The New Typography.
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on 9 February 2001
This is a thoughtful run through the basics of using type with lots of pictures and photos giving it atmosphere. There are lots of more in-depth treatments of the subject but this book looks and reads great. Erik Spiekermann is one of the most distinctive talents in european design and this book is a great example of his clear design - the medium really fits the message.
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on 17 November 1998
As a graphic art professor, I use this book as an introduction to type for those who have never considered the subject before. It is popular with students for ease of reading and understanding. A must for anyone starting a serious study of type.
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on 12 December 1997
I felt that there was more cleverness than substance. It is not rigorous to be a good classical approach nor is it radical enough to please modernists. I recommend Elements of Typographic Style for the former and The New Typography for the latter. Skip this one.
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on 8 March 1998
I always think of this as the "isn't type groovy" book. Spiekermann and Ginger seem to be at pains to avoid transmitting actual knowledge, while advertising that having lots of fonts and using them is fun. There are much, much better, and much more inspiring, introductions to the subject: Robin Williams' "Design for Non-Designers", or The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography, Shahn's, "Love and Joy about Letters"....
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on 6 June 2010
I will start a graphic design MA this September and was advised to read this book from the course coordinator. I have not finished reading it yet but so far, it is very good... The layout and grid of the book are easy to follow. This makes the book pleasant to read. There are loads of illustrations/pictures and this helps to understand the points detailed on each page. In terms of the contents, this book makes you think about type and its use. The examples shown in the book dont really come from artwork but they are more day-to-day stuff that surround us. I've learnt a lot of interesting stuff/tips so far.

I had read the Basic Design: Typography by Gavin/Ambrose Basics Design: Typography and thought it was very interesting with loads of superb examples of artwork but there weren't enough contents compared to "Stop stealing sheep".

I'd recommend this book to anyone who, like me, is a beginner in the graphic design world and wants to learn basics about typography. It's a good intro!
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on 3 February 1997
If you are interested in type or being a graphic designer - get this book! Great book.
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