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Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,949 ratings  ·  76 reviews
A bestselling design classic, Stop Stealing Sheep & find out how type works has inspired and enlightened designers for 20 years with its bold, engaging design and entertaining approach to type education. In this third edition, internationally acclaimed designer Erik Spiekermann brings the book up to date with an all-new chapter on mobile and web typography as well as n ...more
Paperback, Third Edition, 213 pages
Published December 23rd 2013 by Adobe Press (first published 1993)
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3.91  · 
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 ·  1,949 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Richard Derus
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Description: A classic guide to typography -- now updated for the Web -- More than 200 full-color illustrations and photographs bring the discussion of typography to life.

-- Updated to include new material on Web typography and other forms of online text display.

This classic typography book, first published in 1993, is now updated with brand-new typefaces, fonts, and illustrations. Internationally renowned graphic designer Erik Spiekermann explains in everyday terms wh
May 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Spiekermann and Ginger have, essentially, nothing to say. Unfortunately, they spend over 150 pages saying it. The worst of it is that there are all kinds of color photos, headings, etc., so the book is printed on heavy, glossy paper. This is bad because (a) glossy paper is hard to read text on (as ANY designer should know) and (b) both heavy/glossy paper and color inks are expensive. Thus, you must pay $20 for a book that could very easily be condensed into a $1.50 pamphlet.

This book is often to
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crazy people
Recommended to eq by: CDIA
I thought this book was going to give me a seizure. There were so many different fonts, images, margins... Did I mention fonts? They were everywhere. I get the point (or pica) - font matters. But did you have to put it everywhere? I can only look at "Handgloves" so many times in so many ways and mixed up in the overall book was just confusing.

Font. Sigh.

And what was up with the information in small, red font in the left margins? I couldn't make up my mind about what to read. Should I read the
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: graphic designers
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Amazon
If you are interested in typography, but maybe weren't taught much about it in say, art school, then you'll love this book. Every page was a wonderful introduction to something I simply didn't know, but was completely captivated by...rather, many pages were - I do know what a descender is and how to tell a sanserif from a serif. I'm no idiot.

But, I'd recommend this to every graphic designer and type-nut.

I'm definitely putting it on my essential reading list for my Fundamentals of Graphic Design
Deane Barker
I can't recommend this book. It's a little ironic that the biggest problem with a book on type is its format.

The book is divided into chapters, but each one is essentially a collection of mini-essays. In each two-page spread, the left page is an image of some kind, meant to illustrate what the right page is discussing. A couple problems:

* There are no headings. Since each two-page spread is a mini-essay that is meant to stand alone, a heading summarizing what's under discussion would have been h
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: typography
It is a nice introduction for students who start out with typography.
A coffee-table book about typeface design. Very introductory and light in content, but there are nice visuals and some interesting tidbits in the sidebars. I enjoyed the comparisons of typefaces and their histories, particularly those that were applied to specific purposes - industrial signage, newspapers, etc. Sometimes terms are used before they are defined (such as "x-height") or are not defined at all ("tracking" is spacing between letters), which is a problem. There are some good observatio ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. I think this would be good if you didn't know anything about typography. But if you've at least heard of kerning or x-height (even if you don't know/remember what they mean), I would move onto something more complicated. Not a whole lot of concrete information and a lot of touchy-feely conversations about how different typefaces are happy or sad.
Niel Malan
Very nice little book about what type is supposed to do for you.
Jul 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books. It is a strange mix of graphic art and philosophy.
Vidit Bhargava
It's ironic how a book on typography fails to have an easy to read layout. Text is divided into two columns, on the left is the main text in black and serif font font, and on the right is margin scribblings set in a lower point sans serif. One would think that the margin text would be small tidbits of information, but sometimes it's even longer than the main text. Making it a very difficult reading experience.

The book itself has some insightful information on typefaces. If you're new to typograp
Ashley Lambert-Maberly
I've been reading quite a few books on typography and design this month, and (considering the topic is so fascinating) they've been a bit dry, or fluffy--either extreme. This one hits the sweet spot, straight through the middle--not so academic as to bore the bejeezus out of you, not so jejeune as to induce eyerolling. Lots of fonts explicated along the way, with coherent explanations of what makes them special. Very recommended. (I can't hand out 5 stars willy-nilly--it's not going to win any l ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you already agree that "typography is an important element of written communication" then there doesn't seem to be too much here. There's some talk about kerning, tracking, font weights, and their effects on how a piece of text feels. However, I don't have as sensitive of an eye as Spiekermann so the examples showcasing an obviously better or worse chunk of type didn't work so well for me. I could have done with a bit more hand-holding and in-depth analysis of *how* different fonts had differ ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not sure why I reread this. I didn't get much more out of the third edition as I got out of the first. Not sure if this book was meant to be a book on typography history or usage, but falls short of being either. I know it's difficult to make a deathly boring subject as typography interesting, but it's been done. This book wanders all over the place, touching on a variety of subjects within typography. I have a lot of respect for Spiekermann as a typographer, not so much as a writer.
Karen Carlson
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A fun look at typefaces. Great illustrations and examples; more from a graphic layout pov than a type design pov. Editions matter, since technology changes fast. FMI see my blog post at
A Just Recompense.
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coffee table book.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: typography
Very interesting book about font and some information about history of typography with beautiful images, fonts and many more.
Vicente Sarmento
Quick and fun. The info on the sidebars makes the book richer and deeper if you want to know type better.
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Typography addressed clearly in an entertaining voice. Great reference.
Amy Rhoda  Brown
I picked this up at a used book store to add to my reference shelf. It's a very readable overview of the world of typefaces, including discussion of history, different styles of typefaces, how to choose a typeface, and line spacing, tracking and kerning. It's more conversation than the last book on typefaces I read Thinking with Type: A Primer for Deisgners: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students but less loaded with information. That might be good - Thinking with Type ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design-books
Interesting book! For a beginner typographer, it is pretty good. I think the focus of the book is to tell you what typeface goes where, which it has done successfully by illustrating some quite interesting examples. Then again, some pages of the book got too basic I had to skip them, and the bad thing about them is that they appeared at a point in the book where you've already done so much progress. My only problems with the book was the layout of the book itself - I realize that they need to gi ...more
Bogi Takács
A fun beginner book about typography, but very basic; though in some places (especially toward the end) I felt it was very opaque and if I hadn't known the information already, I would've been hopelessly confused. The last few chapters were a bit of a slog, the approach of trying to explain everything via analogy to cars, rooms etc. didn't quite work for me - I usually really like analogy, but here I felt it was distracting from why typography is interesting in itself. Then again, I am a nerd an ...more
Deniz Cem Önduygu
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: design amateurs/students
Shelves: design, typography
I was expecting a better book from Spiekermann, both as content and form. It's so full of metaphors that it can barely find space to directly discuss type. I learned a few things here and there, but this is mainly a book for design amateurs/students.

The book was first published in 1993 and although this second edition is dated 2003 it still feels quite old, with its own editorial design, the examples in it and all those featured typefaces from the 1990s. I mean, you don't even have Gotham (2000)
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great primer for the typo novice, as far as I can tell, being a novice myself. This book is full of demonstrations of the principles it describes, which are jarring and challenged me to grow new parts of my brain to parse the previously subliminal effect fonts have on me. I tend to point fonts out a lot, and have not learned where the middle ground is where one can do this without annoying people. Anyway, Im happily on the road to nerdom and will never steal sheep again.
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
I read "Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works" during a 3h flight.
Spiekerman manages to convey his mindset and thoughts over typography in a brief and humorous manner, without compromising on substance.
Don't expect a hands-on book, but rather a book that will lay-on the foundations for your further involvement with typography. A must read for all the laymen with typography out there!
Aug 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design, typography
Mandatory reading in second year graphic design studies, and rightly so, as it's a relatively basic introduction to the fundamental rules of typography. Or more specifically, the ones you're really, really not supposed to break. Ever.

In that regard, it's a bit more accessible to some; but it's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the finer points of typography.
Jul 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: designers and font fanatics
awesome!! part typographical manual, part wit, part graphic illustration, this was a really fun and quite informative read. it would make a splendid resource for the history of type, the different uses, examples, etc. etc. good for all types of designers (no pun intended). learned new things that would've been helpful while working at spec.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Mildly useful introduction to typography. Far too much time spent describing obvious things type can do - convey emotion, increase legibility - with not enough on how.

In typical 'academics write a book for the layperson' style, filled with some of the worst metaphors. 'Type is like...traffic. No, no...type is like your family! It's like your family in a car stuck in traffic!'
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book... As an introduction to type. I had heard good things about this book for years and finally got around to reading it. Was somewhat disappointed, yet happy, to find I knew most of what was presented. Great tidbits of info are contained in the sidebar set in the color red. Would recommend as a short easy go read primer on type.
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Freshman year of art school I thought this book was completely ridiculous (without having even cracked it open). Three years and one incredible instructor later, I was sold. I refer to this book all the time now...
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