Having read the fine reviews of this book, I took a punt and chose it along with a few other similar titles, to learn about typography in a little more depth.
I was not at all expecting to find that this book is in fact a beautifully written manual, not just on typography but arguably also on the deeper philosophy and understanding of the design of our most common form of communication.
I am now have regular conversations along the lines, "I'm reading this wonderful book, just beautifully written, I can't put it down. - What's it about? - Typography. - What's that? Erm, well, sometimes it's about the space between letters..... "
Just a lovely, lovely book that you will take great pleasure in owning.
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.
If you're interested in the finer points of type and typography you'll end up with a bookshelf full of books. You can save a lot of money by buying this one first. It's rather difficult to find anything wrong with it... OK, so it's not in colour.
This is the best typography book I've had in my hands in the short time I have as a typography enthusiast. Edition and attention to detail, from the print quality to the fonts and even the paper makes reading the book a pleasant experience
This is an absolute must for any graphic designer or anyone interested in typography. The content is a superb overview of everything you need to know. The book itself is gorgeously designed and produced, lovely smooth paper. It is written beautifully too, I could easily sit and read this book. Really, I cannot rate it highly enough.
A beautifully written book and a pleasure to read. Herman Zapf is quoted on the back cover "All desktop typographers should study this book...", and I agree with him. If you design anything using type you should heed the great Mr Zapf's adice.