Practical Typography

I’ve always had a passing interest in typography as I was curious how some books, reports etc were much easier to read and assimilate than others mainly through the way they were visually presented. Because of this, typography’s a very relevant topic for writers as well as designers.

I’m a member of a local book club and last year we ended up reading Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido (Bloomsbury Press, 2010) – in case you’re interested, it got a 6 out of 10 rating!

However at the back of the book it had something I’d never seen before, a page entitled ‘A Note on the Type’:

The text in this book is set in Baskerville, and is named after John Baskerville of Birmingham (1706-1775). The original punches cut by him still survive. His widow sold them to Beaumarchais, from where they passed through several French foundries to Deberney & Peignot in Paris, before finding their way to Cambridge University Press.

It then goes on to describe details of the type.

I so liked the font (that I’d not heard of before), it’s now my default for all the notes and writing I do (mainly in Scrivener), I find it really easy on the eye.

Related to this, I recently came across a very clear site that goes through all of the key factors: Practical Typography:

This is a bold claim, but I stand be­hind it: if you learn and fol­low these five ty­pog­ra­phy rules, you will be a bet­ter ty­pog­ra­ph­er than 95% of pro­fes­sion­al writ­ers and 70% of pro­fes­sion­al de­sign­ers. (The rest of this book will raise you to the 99th per­centile in both categories.)

All it takes is ten min­utes—five min­utes to read these rules once, then five min­utes to read them again.

The section on Sample Documents is especially enlightening.


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