Learn Typography Today: Four New Books for Every Designer’s Shelf

Typography book

Need a boost of typographic inspiration? Check out our roundup of some of the best new typography books for designers.

One of the things that sets an amazing designer apart from an average one is their command of typography. But if you came into design with a digital or fine art background, you could easily have missed out on the chance to learn typography from the ground up. And even if you received a more traditional design education, keeping your typography skills sharp will serve you well throughout your career.

If you’re on the hunt for resources to help you learn typography, expand your hand-lettering skills or just celebrate your fondness for fonts, you’re in luck! We’ve rounded up four fresh books that tackle typography from very different angles. Add them to your bookshelf today.

Lessons in Typography: Must-Know Typographic Principles Presented Through Lessons, Exercises, and Examples

If you’re hungry to expand your knowledge of typographic principles, Lessons In Typography (New Riders) by well-known design author and creativity guru Jim Krause is the perfect choice. Krause starts by explaining the basics of type terminology and builds on that by layering in details about how letters are formed and how they can be combined into words and then into sentences, paragraphs and pages. Peppered throughout each chapter are practical exercises to help you hone your skills and learn typography by creating your own monogram, word graphic, logo and more.

In the final pages of the book, Krause offers sage advice for finding typographic inspiration in the world around you. “Keep your eyes wide open for both old and new examples of typographic brilliance and inspiration,” he writes. “Avoid falling into the habit of simply reading the titles at the beginning of movies, the headlines in the advertisements you come across, and the text of the articles you look at.”

Lesson in Typography

Culture+Typography: How Culture Affects Typography

Typographic inspiration can be found just about anywhere you look. Nowhere is that more obvious than in this collection of typographic signage from around the country. Author Nikki Villagomez, a designer, traveler and type enthusiast, created Culture+Typography (HOW Books) in an effort to show how local culture influences typographic expression.

Villagomez traveled across America and took all of the pictures herself. Her photos range from a beautiful hand-painted sign on a mom-and-pop grocery store to a gorgeous typographic mural on the side of a hip, new restaurant. She shows the intersections of type with the environment and how everything from the weather to an economic decline to a fresh new design scene affects the typographic expression of a city or town.

To close the book, she invites the reader to remember what it’s like to travel and have your senses awakened by new experiences. She writes: “If you can get to a place where you are in that state of awareness in your day to day life, in the city you live in, you will be more mindful of your surroundings.”

Culture and TypographyHand-Lettering for Everyone: A Creative Workbook

Mindfulness is also at the heart of this creative workbook by Cristina Vanko. You can look at and read about all the type you want, but to truly learn typography, there’s no more powerful way than to draw it by hand. (Be sure to check out Vanko’s text message typography project.)

Hand-Lettering for Everyone (Perigee) is designed to be followed page by page, step by step, to help even the novice typographer develop his or her own style of lettering. And in true workbook fashion, there are plenty of blank spaces to draw right on the pages. (Or, you can use your own notebook if you don’t want to compete with the author’s lovely lettering.) If you get frustrated that your skills aren’t improving quickly enough, Vanko has peppered the pages with inspirational quotes drawn in different styles to keep you going.

Hand Lettering book cover

The Typography Coloring Book: Creative Coloring for Grown-ups

Even if you’re not quite ready to try drawing your own letters, you can at least relax and enjoy typography in a creative way with this unique coloring book for grown-ups.

The Typography Coloring Book (North Light Books) features more than 100 black-and-white letterforms begging to be filled in with pencils, crayons, markers or paint. Some of the pages even include a brief history of well-known typefaces that we often take for granted like Helvetica and Garamond. Plus, the pages are blank on the back so if you create a masterpiece or two, you can cut them out and pin them to an inspiration board or display them proudly on your refrigerator.

Typography coloring book cover

Whether you need fresh typographic ideas for a print project or you’re searching for web design inspiration, one or more of these books will provide the information or creative spark you seek.

Searching for a job? Your understanding of typography matters. Check out our post, Expert Advice on Picking the Right Resume Font (Hint: It’s Not Curlz).