Charles Poynton -
Typography and Design

Standardization, instead of individualization.
Cheap books, instead of private-press editions.
Active literature, instead of passive leather bindings.

- Jan Tschichold, 1930
(tacked up near the site formerly known as Todd Fahrner's comfy chair).

I have written a few documents about typography, and about issues of information design and presentation in the digital world.

My thinking about typography and graphic design has been greatly influenced by the following three books. I consider them to be mandatory reading for any aspiring typographer or illustrator:

Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style. Second edition (Vancouver: Hartley & Marks, 1996).

Jan Tschichold, The Form of the Book (Vancouver: Hartley & Marks, 1991). Originally published in German in 1975.

Edward R. Tufte, Envisioning Information (Cheshire, CT: Graphic Press, 1990).

For the first two,

Hartley & Marks Publishers Inc.
3661 West Broadway,
Vancouver, BC V6R 2B8
+1 604 739 1771
+1 800 800 5887

Apparently single-copy U.S. orders are handled by:

Elliot Bay Book Company
+1 800 962 5311

I also recommend this classic:

Jan Tschichold, The New Typography (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1995). The book is now in paperback, available at Amazon.

I am engaged in a campaign to modernize the archaic habit, recommended in the Chicago Manual of Style and many other places, of typesetting a dash as an em dash with no spaces. Here's a lovely quote from Bringhurst:

"The em dash is the nineteenth-century standard, still prescribed in many editorial style books, but the em dash is too long for use with the best text faces. Like the oversized space between sentences, it belongs to the padded and corseted aesthetic of Victorian typography."

Bringhurst suggests – and I concur – that an appositional phrase should be set off by spaced en-dashes.

Other Typography links ...