Karen Cheng's Designing Type

Graphirus's picture

Hello,

Does anybody in here own this book? If so, please reply to this thread or send me a pm.

Thanks

William Berkson's picture

Yes, I have it. It's a useful book of comparisons of different typefaces, but doesn't really take a type designer's approach to design. For that see Letters of Credit by Walter Tracy.

William Berkson's picture

duplicate

hrant's picture

I have it. Wassup?

hhp

Graphirus's picture

Yes guys, I know it's more a visual compendium of typefaces than a book of type design per se. At least from the few page examples I've seen, I think there's some useful information on those pages, specially for quickly glancing and comparing some glyphs features.

I've been trying to buy it online, with no luck, for a very long long time, and I already gave up trying to get it from a bookstore. I wish to buy it scanned from somebody, that's all.

Am I crazy trying so hard to get my hands on that book? Letters of Credit is good, but I'm a visual person and need something to look for answers quickly.

Thanks!

hrant's picture

It's a fine volume 2 on type design. Somebody has yet to write the first volume.

I think you shouldn't try to get a scanned copy until you've exhausted all reasonable avenues, including contacting the author and publisher. But anyway bookfinder.com is showing multiple copies... :-)

hhp

Graphirus's picture

The problem is not finding the book dear hrant, but making it arrive to Russia or finding a reputable and serious dealer! Last one I tried (the Book Depository) kept me waiting 2 months, contacted them, and refunded right away my money due to "unavailability". What the hell is that? If the book is unavailable then, why sell it? And what is worse, they charged my card anyways.

Today I made a new purchase from Barnes & Noble, let's see if I get that damn book )

Graphirus's picture

Oh, by the way... why did you say that it is a fine "volume 2"?? Which one is volume 1 in your library?

hrant's picture

I meant it's like a second volume in a 2-volume work with a missing first volume. :-) Ergo: Cheng's book is mostly examples, as opposed to ideas.

hhp

Graphirus's picture

Well, I guess ideas need to come straight from the designer's head... or did you mean ideas in the sense of theory and reasons behind certain design decisions?? )

Karl Stange's picture

The Book Depository sells this title (£3.33 more than the cover price) and will ship to Russia:

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Designing-Type-Karen-Cheng/9780300111507

[sorry, just seen your other post!]

Graphirus's picture

Karl, lol! I chose the BD because of the "free shipping" to Russia (and many other locations). Now I know why shipping is free...

hrant's picture

Ideas come from the head, but the only way to get them into other people's heads is to write them down (or tell them in person - not very scalable).

"Free shipping on anything we don't carry!"

hhp

William Berkson's picture

Karen Chung's book is a very nice collection of comparisons, but honestly you can do the same thing if you have any font drawing software, like FontLab. Just open a bunch of typefaces you want to compare, and start copying and pasting them over one another. You can even do it in Illustrator, going to outlines. And to really study a question you have about how designers solve the design of E or e in different styles, you will want to do a lot more and different comparisons than Chung does.

In response to Hrant, it would be great to have a newer 'book 1' on type design, including digital type issues, but meanwhile Tracy is it.

altsan's picture

I bought the Cheng book from Amazon Japan about a year ago. It seems to be widely available. I doubt a.jp would ship to Russia, but I'm sure some Chinese online retailers would be able to get it.

Personally, I think it's a great book. It's not simply comparisons, it contains a lot of brief but very useful notes about how letters are typically structured, character by character. I imagine an experienced/professional designer would probably find most of its hints to be no-brainers, but for a beginner like me it's been invaluable.

Lots of people recommend Walter Tracy's book, but that one really does seem to be un-purchasable (unless you're willing to pay several hundred dollars to a rare books dealer).

hrant's picture

There seem to be some used ones out there for ~$70. Totally worth it.

hhp

russellm's picture

I'm going to eat a whole box of cookies before supper.

hrant's picture

Russell, I'm pretty sure that would not be OK. But: I am not your mother. ;-)

hhp

Graphirus's picture

It's ok guys, let's see how Barnes & Noble handles my purchase )

Graphirus's picture

Ops, on a similar subject... is there any book like Cheng's which deals with italics? While working on the italics of my Graphirus font I have encountered some "problems" that I'd like to check on a visual manner, but I haven't found any resources yet. I've been comparing some italic fonts and making some assumptions from that, but is a pain in the a** to do so and maybe my italics pool is not as big and varied as to get conclussions from it anyways.

hrant's picture

Italics are so 14th century.

hhp

Thomas Phinney's picture

I actually quite like Cheng's book for what it covers. I think it is an excellent choice for one of several books a beginning type designer could own. The book is strongest at a micro level analysis of individual glyphs and their relationships.

Significant omissions include the lack of italic coverage, and the fact that the Latin coverage is limited to western European (there’s an eszett and acute, but no ogonek or L-slash). I don't have a problem with stopping at Latin, but covering at least CE/Baltic/Turkish as part of that seems pretty standard these days.

For western readers, the book is easy to find. Amazon has it in stock, I have seen it in local bookstores, etc. Sorry that getting it in Russia is so hard!

William Berkson's picture

Oh my, Tracy is out of print. They should put it out as an e-book. You can get much of the essential information in it on Briem's (free) web site, in the type design section: http://briem.net/.

russellm's picture

Hrant, Russell, I'm pretty sure that would not be OK. But: I am not your mother. ;-)

Oh. Now that is a relief. :o).

Well, Hrant, if I was to give away the book I bought, would that be OK? What about if I loaned it?

I don't care much about legalities. They are in essence there to protect corporate interests. But I do care about a logical and a moral position and I do not see any problem giving a copy of a book to someone who is on a part of the globe where apparently no is one is interested in selling that book. No money is lost to the publisher or the author or any part of the supply chain, because no real potential for a sale exists.

If Mr. Graphirus chooses to distribute the book to all of Russia that would be his choice, for which he would be responsible, and, I am sure that, being a reasonable person with at least a passing understanding of the market for illicit English books about type in Russia, he wouldn't bother even thinking about for mor than half a second.

Italics are freaking awesome, as is the 14th century.

hrant's picture

Russell, the wholesale replacement to your first post made me laugh. :-)

Gifting a book is awesome. Loaning a book is fine; it's what I call a "high-risk maneuver", but it's fine. The big difference between loaning a book and emailing a PDF of it is the vastly different level of sacrifice involved. Sacrifice is honorable.

I'm with you on legalities. You should see how I drive. Especially when I spot a lawyer jaywalking. I just feel better when I break the law out of principle, not convenience.

hhp

russellm's picture

:o)

(nice try pretending you weren't scolding me for spoiling my dinner.)

:o)

Careful dissing lawyers... Never know when you might need one. I hate it when they say "Oh, you're the "It's a good start" guy... Funny joke. Burn in Hell !@#$ face."

hrant's picture

Luckily few lawyers are principled enough to turn away any work from anywhere. As always though, there are exceptions. And to be fair, it's not wise to only blame them for this mess.

hhp

Rodney's picture

No offence to Karen, but I ditto Willaim Berkson's comment... go to Font Lab.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I think Stephen Moye’s book on Fontographer is still “Book 1”—even if you don’t use Fontographer. It is out of print, but dirt cheap second-hand. Although if I keep on recommending it so strongly in public, I suppose that might change. :/

charles ellertson's picture

It is out of print, but dirt cheap second-hand.

charles ellertson's picture

(double post)

charles ellertson's picture

It is out of print, but dirt cheap second-hand.

Except, perhaps, for the one selling for $555.55 from TSCBooks. Maybe that includes the program as well?

The $203.95 one doesn't seem like such a value, either. Thomas, think you're running up the price...

hrant's picture

Via bookfinder.com I'm seeing new ones for ~$49 and used ones for ~$11.

But indeed a few years ago it was only possible to find copies for ~$300. Which is when pirate PDFs of it started showing up... So I guess they did a reprint?

hhp

Thomas Phinney's picture

No reprint. The price of Moye’s out-of-print book collapsed when Cheng’s book came out.

hrant's picture

Ah. But what about the "new" ones? Is there still a decent stock of unsold copies?

hhp

BeauW's picture

'Fonts and Logos' by Doyald Young is another one that could go on the list. It makes an excellent compliment to the information in Karen Cheng's book. More compact while touching on more aesthetic considerations. Though if you are having trouble getting the other ones...

William Berkson's picture

Fonts and Logos by Doyald Young is great. It's a much more important book for type design than Karen Cheng's book, though I like hers as well.

Young shows by masterful subtle variations how to combine visual interest, cohesion and evenness of color. I don't know Steven Moye's book. So for me Tracy is book 1. Books two and three for me, in no particular order, are Doyald Young's Fonts and Logos and Noordzij's The Stroke. And for getting into the software Learn Font Lab Fast by Leslie Cabarga. But really the thing to study most is classic typefaces and contemporary ones you admire of whatever styles you're interested in.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I need to take a closer look at Fonts & Logos, I last looked at it when Doyald gave me a copy, which must have been six years ago or some such. Lovely book....

Graphirus's picture

I've heard a lot of good things about Young's book... too sad there are no samples of its contents, I'm not into buying books if I cannot actually see what's inside, no matter how well recommended they are.

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

I have two doubles of Cheng’s book if anyone is still looking for it, EN, paperback.

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