Book Review: The Elements of Typographic Style - Bringhurst

Bringhurst's book on Typography is a joy to read and savour. It offers inpsiration and insight into typography on the web.

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Five out of Five
Five out of Five

If you are looking for a book that explains typography on th web then this book is not for you. The Elements of Typographic Style is a thorough journey through the past, present and future of Typography. It is a beast of a book and at times a very detailed book on the intricacies of style. What it will offer to the average Web Designer is a solid grounding in the principles of typography from choosing a font to sensible rules that will create good typography.

Bringhurst’s relationship to type is reassuringly humble. He explains that ‘Good Typography is like bread: ready to be admired, appraised and dissected before being consumed.’ At many times througout the book he likens typography to a musician interpreting a musical score. One of the main pieces of advice is that individual style should enhance and support the words rather than obscure them.

Reading the book will also help readers to understand just how limited typography on the web is. With around ten safe fonts to choose from most sites use the ame set of fonts and are often at the mercy of browsers as to how they type is displayed. Using other fonts is often a complicated foray into combinations of flash, javascript or non-search engine friendly images.

But Web Designers do have more control over text than they think they do. CSS offers a large amount of control over text including size and positioning. This book will serve as inspiration to explore these possibilities in greater detail as well as recoginising the shortfalls of text on the web.

I thoroughly recommend this book as an exploration of typography. You will gain a good grounding in the history and future of typographic design. You will also see a master at work in Bringhurst. He writes with art, style and dedication. It is a genuine joy to read (if at times a little heavy), seeing someone apply such intelligence and clarity to his craft.


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