Download our free guides
The guides below are free to download, print and keep. They're aimed at students and young designers looking to learn the basics of good typography.
You won't find every single point, pica and pixel of detail here – more 'rules of thumb' and practical advice. Typography is an extensive subject, so these guides are designed to give you a solid base from which to build on. Take a look at the sections below for further reading and advice from the great and the good.
Please re-visit for further updates as we develop and expand this section in the future.
Type Matters!; Jim Williams
Thinking with Type; Ellen Lupton
Five Simple Steps to Better Typography; Mark Boulton
Stop Stealing Sheep; Erik Spiekermann & E.M. Ginger
Grid Systems; Josef Muller-Brockmann
The Elements of Typographic Style; Robert Bringhurst
Notes on Book Design; Derek Birdsall
Herb Lubalin; Unit Editions
Basics Design: Typography; Gavin Ambrose & Paul Harris
An Essay on Typography; Eric Gill
Scripts; Steven Heller
Type & Typography; Phil Baines & Andrew Haslam
Logotype; Michael Evamy
Swiss Graphic Design; Richard Hollis
Pearls of wisdom
There are really two important things about typography: readability and beauty; both are equally important.
Draw your own fonts!
Don't minus-track type at text sizes. It's wrong. It diminishes legibility, makes for darker blocks of text and critical character combinations will need special attention to avoid jumping out at you. Leave the tracking, the type designer usually knows how to space.
I always think of writing as drawing. Every letter is a symbol, so you can begin to play games. I don’t treat writing as calligraphy. The more controlled and raw it is, the more interesting it becomes.
You cannot not communicate.
It takes a lot of effort to make something look effortless.
The grid is like the lines on a football field. You can play a great game in the grid or a lousy game. But the goal is to play a really fine game.
The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice.
Be Consciously Brave. Design should not be created purely out of analysis and research. Truly remarkable design is influenced from the heart as well as the head. Take risks.
Ben Parker, MadeThought
The strongest visual line is the top of the x-height – use it.