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.

Glossary of Basic Terms


Leading or Line Spacing


Hanging Quotes


The Anatomy of Type


Line Length


All of the Guides So Far


Kerning & Tracking


Widows & Orphans



Further reading

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.
Paul Rand

Draw your own fonts!
Henrik Kubel

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.
Bruno Maag

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.
Alan Fletcher

You cannot not communicate.
Erik Spiekermann

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.

Wim Crouwel

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.

Josef Muller-Brockmann

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.
John Bateson