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Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,050 ratings  ·  82 reviews
A guide to typography. It draws in the reader with its design and layout, making use of more than 200 illustrations and photographs. It explains in everyday layman's terms what type is and how you can use it to enhance legibility, meaning, and aesthetic enjoyment. It also includes chapters on Web typography and other forms of online text display.
Paperback, Second Edition, 208 pages
Published July 25th 2002 by Adobe Press (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  2,050 ratings  ·  82 reviews


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Richard Derus
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
spoko
May 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
...more
eq
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Elizabeth
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Deane Barker
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Vasilis
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: typography
It is a nice introduction for students who start out with typography.
Andy
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Rachel
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Miriam
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.
Niel Malan
Very nice little book about what type is supposed to do for you.
Marla
Feb 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: borrowed
This book was such a letdown after reading and loving 'Just My Type' by Simon Garfield. This book, which I read the second edition of, was just such a letdown. The high goodreads rating doesn't reflect that it has almost no actual history, facts or information about fonts or type. It spents the whole book comparing fonts to people, houses, forests, etc. without actually giving me any real interesting or useful information. The title is a joke that they say I should understand by the end of readi ...more
Vidit Bhargava
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
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
...more
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
John
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Jeff
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alicia Mason
Aug 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
I really like Erik Spiekerman’s work on Meta but this book is far from it. Every other page is a picture and the ones that do have words have so many different side bars it ruins the flow of the book. Also the final chapter is disappointing because the small side bar text is yellow on a white background which makes it really hard to read. This has made me sad because I was expecting so much more.
Karen Carlson
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
Rapeepat Ingkasit
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book to get a glimpse in Typography world. It is like to 'recommended route' which touch each and every section in that world. However, if you seek the practical advisement on fonts design. This may not be the great book for you.
Andrey
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.
Ivan
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coffee table book.
Joe Donley
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: typography
This book is full of great examples of how type is used. But, there was a ton of extraneous info that I was tired of reading.
Christian
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
A fun (if dated) text on type and why it matters. Lots of resources inside as well.
Alice
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Typography addressed clearly in an entertaining voice. Great reference.
Marius Černuševičius
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading couple books on type you find same information which already know. It has interesting metaphors to rap around concepts. Its fast read, but had bigger expectations for this book
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 left ...more
Mirna
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Recommends it for: design amateurs/students
Shelves: typography, design
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)
...more
Ryan
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
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