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Thinking with Type
Ellen Lupton’s Thinking with Type feels good in my hands, reads easily, makes me smile, contains a significant amount of information, and fits comfortably in my book bag.

Thinking with Type covers letterforms from a wide variety of perspectives in an organized manner. Lupton travels micro to macro, opening with the letter, moving to text, and outward to the grid. Think bit to byte to kilobyte. You’ll learn about formal principles, structuring text, letterform history, and how technology affects type. You won’t drown in theory. You won’t wrestle with thick language. You won’t get lost in the footnotes.

Lupton labels her book a naturalist’s field guide to typography—more evolutionary than mechanical. If comparisons have to be made, Thinking with Type feels like Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works. Both take a down to earth approach by answering questions like, “What is type? Which face do I select? How does it work? How is it made? Who makes it? How can you structure it? What is its history? What forms can it take? How do I organize it?” Spiekermann & Ginger as well as Lupton answer these questions using rich examples and a sense of humor.

From free advice to crimes against typography, I caught myself giggling a number of times. Lupton’s insightful yet light-hearted way of writing refreshed me. A majority of books on typography appear rigid. It’s not only the author’s writing style, but also how they believe typography should be handled. You’ll read about principles and foundations in Thinking with Type, but you won’t be overwhelmed by dogma.

Thinking with Type would be suitable for the beginning designer that wants to learn about type on elementary and intermediate levels. Educators should consider this title. With a small amount of effort, they could build an entire class around the book itself. As part of Princeton Architectural Press’ Design Briefs series, Thinking with Type will oil your typographic sensibilities before moving onto Grid Systems.

Book Information
Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
176 pages, Paperback
0.50 x 8.54 x 7.02 inches
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
ISBN: 1568984480
Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Oct.15.2004 BY Jason A. Tselentis
Mark Lamster’s comment is:

Thank you for this review. As the editor of the book, I'd just like to point out, in regard to the last point in the review regarding the use of this book for a course, that on the website that acccompanies the book, thinkingwithtype.com, ellen has provided teachers with a set of tools for teachers, including a syllabus and various exercizes.

On Oct.18.2004 at 10:48 AM
Jason T’s comment is:

Thanks, Mark. The website is very helpful, and gives a taste of what the book offers too. I found the classroom materials quite valuable and the games fun. Check it out, readers.


On Oct.18.2004 at 12:58 PM
Nicole’s comment is:

This is a great book! I have begun using the web site as a teaching tool already. Today I noticed a student who gave up trying to do the assignment and was instead eagerly reading the entire web site. The same material is covered in the textbook I've been using, but I never saw anyone read it instead of working. I'm thrilled about this wonderful new book!

On Oct.19.2004 at 07:11 PM