Books: Typography from A to Z. Part 2

Last week we talked about books dealing with vintage typography, this week we take a look at books that explain how typography works, dissecting, analyzing, arranging, and measuring thousands of typefaces from the old fashioned to the futuristic.

The Geometry of Type: The Anatomy of 100 Essential Typefaces


This book explores 100 traditional and modern typefaces with a full spread devoted to each entry. Now, that’s quite a treat. Characters are enlarged and annotated to reveal key features, anatomical details, and the finer, often-overlooked elements of type design, which shows how these attributes affect mood and readability. But there’s even more for those who need all the details. Sidebar information lists the designer and foundry, the year of release and the different weights and styles available. There are also feature boxes explaining the origins and best uses for each typeface. It is a highly practical work of reference, but also a celebration of typefaces and great type design.

Letter Fountain: The Anatomy of Type


This book prides itself on being everything you could ever want to know about printing letters and numbers. Letter Fountain is a typeface handbook looking back as far as man’s first efforts to communicate with visual signs and drawings. In addition to examining the form and anatomy of every letter in the alphabet, the book also cross-references type designs with important works of art and art movements from Gutenberg’s times until today. Over 150 typefaces, their origins, and font characteristics are discussed in detail. To see that they mean business, it might be good to know that the appendix contains a general index, one on typefaces (more than 300 are depicted in the book), an index on over 250 type designers, an exhaustive index on type founders, a graphical dictionary, and a bibliography for further reading.

Hand to Type: Scripts, Hand Lettering and Calligraphy


Hand to Type is a collection of inspiring visuals and insightful texts, comprising some of the best work by today’s lettering artists in the fields of hand-made and digital script forms. You’ll discover texts about outstanding designers and a series of expert chapters outlining the principles of script forms from the German Sütterlin to Arabic and Asian scripts.This is the special addition to our collection, because it’s based on a paradox. The less we write by hand, the more fascinated with handwritten letter forms we become. However, the love of the hand-written look is nothing new. Story goes that even the oldest printed books pretended to be something unique and not a machine-made mass product. No wonder that script fonts digital type families based on handwriting are among the most sought on the typography market today.

Encyclopaedia of Typefaces: The Standard Typography Reference Guide


It is an Encyclopaedia, which means that, by definition, this is a definitive reference guide for anyone concerned with type faces. It is an invaluable, accessible and easy-to-use collection comprising over 2,000 type faces arranged alphabetically and into three sections – Romans, Lineales and Scripts. Established and classic typefaces, unique qualities and applications – it’s all here. The guide is ‘the standard work of reference’ (“The British Printer”) and has continued to assert itself as the ‘best international catalogue of typefaces which we have ever seen’ (“International Bulletin”).

Happy reading! And don’t forget to share your own favorite typography books.


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