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Typography Sketchbooks

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Typography is an obsession for most designers. It's at the heart of all visual communication and is one of the purest forms of design, one that can always be improved and refined. Typography Sketchbooks gets into the minds of designers who create typefaces, word images and logos through their private sketchbooks. The result of these wide-ranging typographic musings provide ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 28th 2011 by Princeton Architectural Press (first published September 12th 2011)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  663 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really great book because it really gets back to the beginnings of the fonts which designers have developed. The fact that there is a little type to explain the background every now and then is great and the images themselves would have made a stunning book. For the cost of this book it has been well worth it throughout my Typography project and just for reading for fun. I love this book and I think that the sketches within are truly inspiring and exciting for anyone who enjoys type.
A visual window.
Gorgeous and fantastic.
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-design

(More pictures on my blog)

Here's a colourful book for graphic designers and the typography fanatics.

It collects more then 90 artists and their experimentation with typography.

They are mostly hand drawn. You won't see much of the rigid fonts. Almost every one looks playful. There are some fonts created for comics, some grew plants to form letters, 3D fonts, painted fonts, and many more. The styles are wide-ranging and fascinating.

It's a great collection of ideas to look at when need to come up wi
Brooke Stephenson
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great look see for people like me who are obsessed with type. I found it really inspiring to see who artists work and how their ideas form. If you've ever wondered where fonts come from or you just like looking at awesome sketches, take a look at this book!
Absolutely stunning! It's incredibly impressive visually and the content is really inspiring. I would definitely recommend this.
Pel0s Smith
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Type-gasm!!! ^__^
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a good survey of how a typographer sketches, develops and executes a font. If you're looking for a starting point for your own typography, this should encourage you to get to it!
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If typography is your thing and you have a secret wish to spy into other people's notebooks/sketchbooks then this is the book for you. View the musings of a wide range of type designers and see how their process looks from the inside out.

What I liked: Every page has something visually compelling. So many designers doing some amazing work, I liked learning about them as much as viewing their sketchbooks. I really love this book. It is one to buy and refer to often for inspiration.

What I didn't li
Mauricio Villamayor
Although this book gives a great glimpse of designer's processes through sketches, it short felt short of content per designers. There are too many designers and not enough pages.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well, it's a wonderful book, don't get me wrong. But, there is so little information about how each artist works, and so few examples of each person's work, it is very frustrating. They say there are 90 artists represented. So maybe it would have been better to pick half that number and give them each twice the space to show their sketchbooks and discuss their working processes.

It's a large, heavy, softcover and very hard to open. It takes two hands and a table and it is very hard to see into t
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting and thought provoking. This book contains a large number of sketchbook samples from a diverse sets of designers. The book is organized alphabetically by the designer's last name so you're almost guaranteed to get a completely different style with each turn of the page.

What was most interesting in reading the designers' thoughts on sketching was that it was used largely in two ways; first, as an initial or creative exploration, and second, as a flexible way of problem solving. Almost
Oooh, this is cool -- as one reviewer put it, "type-gasm!" I especially like the work of Katie Lombardo, aka Katie Daisy, on p. 181 (, and any of the lettering done in watercolor with variegated color. This is a big book on heavy paper -- a nice coffee table/inspiration book if you like seeing ideas develop through sketches. (Speaking of -- do everyone's sketchbooks look this nice?! Now I'm going to be sketching thinking, "must compose jauntily and nicely -- this may g ...more
Juliana Conidi
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for any designer or type fanatic. Even if you aren't all that interested in type, it's a treat for anyone who's interested in the design process and the background behind how final designs come to fruition. This compilation is the perfect blend of sketches and visual imagery without bombarding you with too much backstory behind each work, making it a wonderful reference and inspiration piece for sure!
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I flicked through this in a bookstore recently and wasn't that impressed especially since it was quite expensive.
It's a reference book of typography and you can easily find similar sources on the internet for free.
If you like to have your sources in book form or want to support the artist then by all means buy.
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is insightful, easy to read, inspirational and filled with beautiful illustrations from the sketchbooks of multiple and talented designers/typographers. Is great to be able to peek into a creative's process even for a brief moment. Highly recommended for anyone interested in typography, illustration and design.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting collection of great and terrible type design, though both are made more appealing by the accompanying sketches. Of the presented artists, I dug George Bates, Duarte Design and Katie Lambardo.
Hannah Minchow-proffitt
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every time I look at this book, my passions for graphic design, typography, and even the art of doodling are reignited. It reminds me that there are no mistakes in typography sketching. It's a time to simply be with the paper and ink/pencil/paint/whatever and see what happens.
Dani Gs
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, creative and inspired.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Loved all the peak into different journals and the little bio about each designer. Very good book, Highly recommended.
Very good book, fab pictures, a excellent resource for typography and artists. would be fab if they included some practice space!
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book, an ideas-factory not just for typographers but for graphic designers as well. More of a coffee-table book than a tome for reading, of course.
Cara Ellison
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creativity, art, lettering
Gorgeous book. Very inspiring.
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Inspirational and interesting.
Nindi Wijaya
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design, my-favorites
I Loved it. thats all !
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
Great book full of heaps inspiring typography! I love to have a flick through every once in a while to get the ideas going :)
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Pretty dang awesome. I'll be looking through it for inspiration often.
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prettytolookat
This makes me giddy to look at...A thick volume of sketches and doodlings and a joy to look at. Recommended if you like thinking about type.
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
A hefty sampling of 'typographic musings' that intrigue and inspire, but can also end up running together if viewed all at once.
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book. It's one I definitely will revisit a couple of times for inspiration. It was a light but interesting read
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
very inspiring book. excited to do practice. :)
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Steven Heller writes a monthly column on graphic design books for The New York Times Book Review and is co-chair of MFA Design at the School of Visual Arts. He has written more than 100 books on graphic design, illustration and political art, including Paul Rand, Merz to Emigre and Beyond: Avant Garde Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century, Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design Second Ed ...more