Good Typography Books?


Hey all :)

Just wondering if anyone had any good typography books to recommend? Y'know books that give you a rundown on the history of a font/type, what it was used for and basic emotions they are supposed to invoke.

I know most designers can look at a font and instinctively know their possible uses but I do like to know my theory as well (ie can explain to a client if need be)


The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst is a well-thumbed bible of mine; I can't recommend it highly enough. But it's more about typography as an art (and science) than its history and it certainly doesn't dwell too much on any particular face.

The Complete Manual of Typography by James Felici is also an absolute must. A good technical resource for type-setting, this does cover the history of typography, but again, not too much emphasis on any particular face.

Adrian Frutiger — The Complete Works is also a truly fascinating read (admittedly I've not finished it yet), but that's obviously only about his body of work (which is pretty extensive anyway). This is a fantastic and very insightful book, but it's pretty expensive at £79!

There's some interesting bits about type history in Graphic Design A New History by Stephen Eskilson too.

For a slightly cheaper (free) option frequent places like I love Typography (iLT), devoted to fonts, typefaces and all things typographical and The FontFeed | Fonts, Typography, Lettering, Design more often. Eye Magazine is expensive as magazines go, but it's a proper visual design journal with properly writen and researched essays. Keep an eye out for the typography specials which they often run, they're always very good.


Great list Matt. I'm looking at buying some books on typography soon but don't know which ones are good. So this comes in very handy. Thanks for the recommendations!