Typography is concerned with the trade of composing or framing type and printing from it. This unusual book is all about typographic projects, written by two experienced designers: Nigel French and Hugh D’Andrade. The book’s intended audience includes graphic designers, those studying typography, and those at ease with software.
At 280-plus pages, the book has many projects related to typography. It is divided into five sections: “Pastiche” (a work of art that imitates the style of some previous work), “Short Text,” “Longer Text,” “Typographic Portraits,” and “Type as Image.” The authors have deliberately worded the introductory section as “pastiche” to emphasize that, in graphic design, many ideas originate from earlier work. The focus of the book is on graphic design principles and the usage of type for artistic expression. The projects can help readers make use of tools for creative design. Artistic skills are obviously required for creative design. The authors emphasize that such skills come with experience and can’t be learned overnight. The book provides several opportunities for learning by studying as well as by practicing. The authors focus on a variety of artworks: wartime posters, country music posters, magazine covers, album covers, compact discs, cookbooks, theatre posters, city posters, travel guides, movie posters, posters for music festivals, beer/wine labels, business cards, product guides, menus, brochures, ASCII art, puzzles, logos, infographics, web banners, icons, and so on.
Almost all the projects in the book contain a brief description about the project, stipulations, items for learning, necessary tools, specific sizes and styles of type within a type family, and pictorial examples. Furthermore, there is often a short description of how to accomplish some specific task, pointers and tricks of the trade, as well as shortcuts and dependable recommendations.
The book is very readable and easy to understand. The writing style is conversational and peppered with sound humor. The authors emphasize the evaluative criteria that are applied to art, and also the technological facets of caliber design art forms that blend both text and graphics. It is not necessary to read the book from cover to cover. In fact, readers can dig in anywhere and still find it understandable and readable since there are several interesting projects throughout. This book will be very useful for teaching a course on typography, as it is one of the few books devoted entirely to typography for creative graphic design. The indexes are very helpful; in addition to a normal index, there is also an index dedicated to typefaces that greatly increases the book’s utility. The book is packed with helpful information, even for novices and youngsters. In addition to the aforementioned intended audience, I feel those in (or interested in) advertising will greatly benefit from reading it.
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