T-10. The History of Typography - Advance Reading List

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  • Required:

    Knight, Stan. Historical types: from Gutenberg to Ashendene. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press. A survey of major developments in type design from the fifteen to the twentieth century, grouped by historical period. Concise commentary about the type and its maker accompanies   photographs of each type.
    ~ $20 at Oak Knoll

    Shaw, Paul. Revival Type. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. An exploration of digital type revivals that includes translations of letterforms not previously used as type, direct revivals of metal and wood typefaces, and looser interpretations of older fonts.
    ~ widely available used for around $20 – check abebooks



  • Highly suggested if one can put hands on it:

    Geoffrey Dowding. An introduction to the history of printing types: an illustrated summary of the main stages in the development of type design from 1440 up to the present day. London: British Library; New Castle, DE : Oak Knoll Press, 1998. This book is similar in content to Knight’s Historical Types but is slightly more inclusive for the later periods. (If not interested in the whole text, we specifically recommend reading the introduction and later sections: pp. 145-208.)

  • Optional:

    Coles, Stephen. The Anatomy of Type. New York: Harper, 2012. Very useful reference book of vocabulary for describing type (focuses on digital type but can be applied to historical type as well).

    Beier, Sophie. Reading Letters: Designing for Legibility. Amsterdam: BIS, 2011. PDF freely available here.

    Unger, Gerard. While You’re Reading. New York: Mark Batty, 2007. Both of the above books are about how we read and interpret type. Beier looks more at the science of type, while Unger is more philosophical.
    ~ Check abebooks for used copies under $30. (PDF of introduction here.)