This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

To find out more about Write, go to or join us on Facebook at

19 March 2014

From our bookshelves - Designer’s Guide to Typography

New to our library, this book is for lovers of type, paper, and the strong smell of ink, as well as those interested in graphic design and history. Here's Jack Ponting's book review from last week's staff meeting.

The form of letters has always been directly related to the technology used to make them. When looking at what in printing trade terms we call a ‘slug’ it may be difficult to identify that once it was a huge advance in technology.

Instead of every letter having to be individually placed to form a line, it created a complete line of type in one piece. Some of you will have heard the term Linotype. That’s one of the machines that used to create the lines-of-type. During this era all printing was created by inking a raised surface and applying paper to transfer the ink. All material to be printed, text, photos, illustrations had to be 0.918 inches ‘type high’ to give a printed impression.

Some chapter headings

Page 12: Producing Consistently Readable and Beautifully Printed Type — How ink and paper choice can affect the reproduction of type.

Page 18: Readability and Legibility in Text — Learning to understand the subtle distinctions of fine text typography will help you specify the most readable type.

Page 24: Techniques for Display Type — From letterspacing to retouching display type, these time-proven methods will help make your design optically sound.   

Page 28: Combining Type and Colour — It is crucial to understand the importance of contrast in the colour selection process.
Page 32: Typography: More Than Words — Learn how typeface use is influenced by the project, audience, medium and your own palette of preferences.

Other sections of interest may be:
    Typography in Corporate Identity
    Humanising Corporate Images
    Specifying Type in Annual Reports
    Turning Type into Signs.

Designer’s Guide to Typography is by Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel and John Fennell, and was published in 1991.

We review a book from Write's library at our staff meeting, to remind us of the wealth of material we have at our fingertips. Keep an eye out for more blogs 'from our bookshelf'.

No comments:

Post a Comment