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Thinking With Type

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  4,573 ratings  ·  179 reviews
Our all time best selling book is now available in a revised and expanded second edition. Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition includes forty-eight pages of new content, including the latest information on style sheets for print and the web, the use of orna ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 6th 2010 by Princeton Architectural Press (first published September 9th 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Helen (Helena/Nell)
Dec 04, 2013 Helen (Helena/Nell) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Novices typesetting books
I liked this book a LOT. It had loads of interesting details in it for me, my kind of detail, and it had a sense of humour. Lots of funny bits, and lots of bits that made me think long and hard.

I know there are things in it that will be old hat to experienced visual communications folk, but I'm not one of them. I'm learning, and I know some of this stuff, but a lot I either don't know at all or need to read it again anyway to try to get it into my head.

I liked the presentation on the page, I lik
...more
Michelle
My first response to this book was that it was a little on the technical side for me. Then I saw in other readers' reviews that it was good but a little too simplistic. Huh. Well I guess I'm just a type neophyte, then.

I think I was hoping to be more inspired by the book. I was inspired, but in more subtle ways than I expected. I did learn things that I didn't know about typefaces, and I enjoyed seeing visual representations of the type in text.

My favorite sections were on grids and hierarchy.
Amy Brown
I actually really liked this and found it very useful- I will probably buy a copy.

I gave it three stars instead of four because there were times when I got lost and felt things weren't fully explained, like in the discussion of grids and baselines. I'm hoping it will start to make sense after a reread and some experimentation, or else I guess I'll have to take a course or something.
Graham Herrli
This is one of those beautiful books that conveys meaning as much through its form as through its content. It contains many images of type designed in various ways, integrated with descriptive text to demonstrate various principles of typography.

In additional to explaining how to do things right, Lupton provides many helpful examples of what not to do.

This book is organized into three sections: letter, text, and grid. Each section begins with an overview of that category, including its definitio
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Mikal
Do you know what a pica is? Can you explain a typeface's x-height? If you answer yes to either of these questions you'll probably rate this book no more than 3 stars.
This book is a brief read filled with lots of examples of different type styles. The book breaks typography into three sections: the letter (typefaces); text (paragraphs and spacing); and the grid (page layouts). The book seemed to spend far too little time on the letter, too little time on text and too much time on the grid for my
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Celena
Out of all the graphic design-related books that I've read (and I really have not read a lot) this one is the best, so far. This is the perfect introduction to the field because it delivers the information in a way that is easy to digest. The guide for proofreaders and copy editors in the last part is a delightful surprise. My favorite part, though, is when the author provided a brief history of type. It puts everything I've learned in context.
James
An excellent overview. There won’t be much new information for someone who has taken classes or studied typography...but it’s still a great resource. The writing is witty (captions throughout the book include TYPE CRIMES and NERD ALERTS, which list common mistakes and some nice details.) It is also gorgeously designed.

She is kind enough to format her explanations with the problem included (e.g. b ad kemin g). I also was turned on to some nice typefaces that I was previously unaware of. This als
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Loraine
I am not a designer, nor am I aspiring to be one. I read this as someone who appreciates art, talent and beauty, and someone who knows the importance of presentation when conveying a message.
I read this in small bits, enjoyed the info and illustrations, and then went out into the world to appreciate what I had just learned. It helped me notice the art in books, magazines, signs, business cards, web pages and so much more. My eyes fell on the subtleties of the good versus the ordinary graphic des
...more
Jacqueline O.
Apr 30, 2015 Jacqueline O. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Graphic Design Students, Web Design Students
This book wasn't what I was expecting - but I enjoyed it anyway. The first section was about the history of typography, which was very interesting but not necessary what I wanted to know. Although to me, with no formal graphic design training, I had always assumed that Graphic Design was like Architecture, a field where the emphasis was always on "the hot new thing" with little knowledge or care for the past (other than the "opposite" effect - that is, new trends tend to rebel against the previo ...more
Avie
When I'm not slumped by lab reports, buried deep in textbooks, or being extremely introvert locked up with novels and my fave TV series, I am doodling or creating "calligraphy".

I was always interested in the arts and I guess having attended a school that implements a certain handwriting for everyone made me really OC in penmanship. I've long since tossed the habit of the light and heavy strokes but my cursive remained pretty much the same, if not better, throughout the years.

I:m no expert in adv
...more
Alex
I read somewhere that Steve Jobs had an early interest in typography and that it helped engender an attention to detail in his approach to good design. Also, my brother has a healthy appreciation for typography. So, I thought I'd try to learn a little of what it was all about.

This book was a great primer on the principles of typography. I'm glad I read it. I now pay more attention to typography everywhere around me.

Now, how do I change the font of this review to Gotham?
Joshua Pitzalis
This book was an incredible waste of time.

I learned absolutely nothing. Apart from maybe that the best way to match fonts in to make sure their x-heights are the same. The x-height is the middle bit of a letter. Now that you know this, you don't need to read the book.

The author just waffles on about completely useless history and backstory that has zero practical application.

It's also has a terrible layout. Ironic. The layout makes the book really difficult to read. There are loads of little b
...more
Tedb0t
May 28, 2008 Tedb0t marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design, non-fiction
I bought this while drunk. See what happens when you wander around in bookstores, wasted, after just getting a paycheck? Now I feel pretty embarrassed; it's not a bad book but it still has that aura of things uncreative people buy to make themselves think they're creative (*cough* art directors *cough*).
Arensb
Lupton's book gives an overview of the field of typography and page design. It's a quick read, but is enough to let the reader get an idea of what's out there, how different fonts interact, what sorts of things to consider when laying out a page, and so on.

The main structure of the book is a zoom-out: it starts with fonts--showing what a serif, a slab, or a descender are--to paragraphs, to pages and books.

It's reminiscent of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art in that it uses
...more
lydia
oh so fascinating! the evolution of type, a basic history, and practical applications. very useful for those not formally trained in typography and/or design.
Evelin Lang
Fantastic book for beginners to work up the appetite in the field of typography. Although I was hoping for some nerdy detailed typeface design nitty-gritty, this book is more about the breadth rather than the depth of knowledge in the field. And it is a field with wider scope than I thought. The book does however give you very practical guidance of (and sometimes on rather detailed level) how to implement different principles in order to get a good result (and not commit any serious type crimes) ...more
Princeton Architectural
The organization of letters on a blank sheet—or screen—is the most basic challenge facing anyone who practices design. What type of font to use? How big? How should those letters, words, and paragraphs be aligned, spaced, ordered, shaped, and otherwise manipulated? In this groundbreaking new primer, leading design educator and historian Ellen Lupton provides clear and concise guidance for anyone learning or brushing up on their typographic skills.

Thinking with Type is divided into three sections
...more
tout
It's hard for me to rate a design book. I wanted to mark it only as read, but I couldn't figure out how to. Though it isn't a new subject for me this is still the first design book I have read and it still contains a lot of useful information, even if it is fairly shallow. This seems like it could be a good introduction, pretty, but a stupid little book in other respects. Politically it's odd. The book quotes a lot of philosophy and theory to talk about text and culture, but does so in a general ...more
Mila
I was pleased to see thinkingwithtype.com has many parts of the book available at my fingertips so I bookmarked it of course. I like the section on type classification: "Humanist, Transition and Modern which correspond roughly to Renaissance, Baroque, and Enlightment periods in art and literature" and the examples shown. The proofreading page was a trip down memory lane. I wonder if editing on paper is still being done but the inclusion of this page would have one believe that it is, unless it's ...more
Loren
“Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students” by Ellen Lupton is a great book not only for designers, writers, editors and students as the title suggests, but also general readers. Without being dry, the author provides enough interesting information about the history of type to make this book a worthwhile read for anyone interested in understanding how the text they read everyday came to look the way it does. Anyone who does any kind of word processing, ...more
Matthew
This is what happens when you have a graphic designer for an office-mate for two years (of course, I've always been the person reading the colophon at the end of books, so it's not really a new thing). A ton of truly nerdy fun, and I'll be thinking about it every time I create a handout or score from this point forward.
Anita
I am not artistic, don't have a good eye for color, nor can I design anything. Though I am still all of those things, I now have a great appreciation for the look of books, magazines, and web pages thanks to this book. I think back to the good old days before computers when we counted letters to justify our lines for the yearbook. Now you just click a button. But clicking buttons doesn't compensate for bad design. I enjoyed this textbook and will never look at a page the same way again. It has e ...more
Cari
In general, this is a great book: beautiful, dense, and concise. But man is this book pompous. It starts with a lengthy introduction about how no book in the history of printing has ever met the author's needs, "forcing" her to write one herself, and then declares that the resulting masterpiece will be "serene and intelligible" (already, I'm lost). Then it uses sentences like this: "Against the opacity and singularity of unique visual expressions—grounded in regional preferences and private obse ...more
Hannah Jo Parker
Thank you, Librarian Wonder, for bringing this book to my attention. By reading it, I was able to get back in touch with my inner font geek. I love all things related to type and type design, so it was a treat to immerse myself in this world again for a bit.

I do wish, however, that the editors/proofreaders had been better because it seemed especially sad to find typographical errors in a book about type. On the other hand, this book was exceptional in a couple of ways -- in its use of non-Englis
...more
J.E. Jr.
As an introduction to typography and thinking about type and text in terms of page and book design, this is a fine book.

The author wrote the book as a text for her introductory level class on the subject. As a result, it is helpfully inclusive of history and even philosophy in addition to technical details, and yet it handles these concisely. It is far from an exhaustive volume when it comes to this subject, but it does offer a comprehensive look at the basics.

If you already have a solid sense
...more
Liz Throop
There are many books on this subject but Lupton makes it engaging. My best students adored it, but I suspect it went over the heads of other college sophomores.
Erik
Sep 25, 2007 Erik rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: designers, writers and type nerds
From time to time I buy resource books and out of all of my purchases this may be the most handy. Besides being beautifully laid out and a pleasure to read, there is a wealth of information for designers of all experience levels. Thinking with Type provides a nice overview of the history of typography starting with the first typefaces to desktop publishing. From type the subject matter shifts to basic design principles and there is also a nice intro to grids. To top it off there is an excellent ...more
Lastnamecricket
Wonderful introduction to the world of typography. Also a good opportunity to learn why fonts have such odd names. This one is essential for anybody who wants to get into graphic design.
Michael
It's an interesting read. There's more to typography than most graphic designers realize. This book helped me to see the shapes that make up letters.
Megan Stolz
This is a beautiful book to look at -- it's great inspiration. Definitely worth it for anyone interesting in typography and graphic design.
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type book 4 25 Dec 23, 2012 01:52PM  
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  • How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
  • Meggs' History of Graphic Design
  • Designing with Type: The Essential Guide to Typography
  • The Complete Manual of Typography
  • How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer
  • 79 Short Essays on Design
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  • Logo, Font & Lettering Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to the Design, Construction and Usage of Alphabets and Symbols
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“Readers usually ignore the typographic interface, gliding comfortably along literacy’s habitual groove. Sometimes, however, the interface should be allowed to fail. By making itself evident, typography can illuminate the construction and identity of a page, screen, place, or product.” 3 likes
“Designers provide ways into—and out of—the flood of words by breaking up text into pieces and offering shortcuts and alternate routes through masses of information. (...) Although many books define the purpose of typography as enhancing the readability of the written word, one of design’s most humane functions is, in actuality, to help readers avoid reading.” 2 likes
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