Type Design Book

Sam Serif's picture

Can anybody recommend a good book, helpful to someone designing a typeface for the first time?

I am an experienced graphic designer, interested in creating my own font. Something that included a little digital know-how would be appreciated.

Ken Messenger's picture

You could start with "the Triumvirate." Then, for technical know-how, consider Leslie Cabarga's books.

clauses's picture

Designing Type by Karen Cheng goes through the basics. Fully illustrated, including student work that should open your eyes on the beginners (i.e. your) typical shortcomings.

ebensorkin's picture

Although as previously noted considerations of spacing are maybe not given enough time in Karen's book.

About Face: Reviving the Rules of Typography by David Jury might be of some use.

This might be useful, although it does need to be updated a bit more ( my fault ) .


The truth is you have to think of yourself as a bee collecting bits of insight here & there.

For sheer how to though Leslie's book is still #1. You can also ask for help here on Typophile as well.

Don McCahill's picture

Okay, another vague memory (thanks for the clarifications on Ludlow). I seem to remember some type where a part of the letterform hung over the underlying base, for kerning purposes (hand set type). I am thinking of the ball of an f, (or half of it). It would lie over the base of the following letter, and thus print correctly.

Am I remembering correctly? These are 40 year old memories, and I was a reporter then, not a graphic artist, so I wasn't handling this equipment myself.

blank's picture

Get Exploring Typography by Tova Rabinowitz. For the most part it’s your standard Typography primer formatted as a textbook, but it has an excellent chapter on designing a typeface. Rabinowitz literally guides the reader through the design letter by letter—with no software instruction—using a system of developing letters from each other and using generic spacing values presented in tables.

clauses's picture

The Stroke by Gerrit Noordzij is also very good.

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