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Book Review: The Typography Idea Book by Steven Heller & Gail Anderson

2 min, 19 sec read
9:55 AM | 30 September 2016
by Finn O'Neill
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Steven Heller and Gail Anderson’s book on typography informs and delights in similar quantities. Taking their reader through 50 classic typographies, the book is a must for anyone interested in typography, art direction, and graphic design.


WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Coming with the subtitle ‘Inspiration from 50 masters’, the book is what it says it is. It is an idea book for aspiring and interested typographers, taking the reader on a journey through 50 different styles. Split into seven sections, from 'Communicate through letters' to 'Play and improvise', the book catalogues some of the most iconic typographers in history. Each style comes with an example and some theoretical background behind the process and thinking behind typography.

"It lays out many of the fun, esoteric and eccentric options a typographer has at his or her disposal."

The introduction warns the reader that it is not an introduction to typographic basics. What it does do is lay out ‘many of the fun, esoteric and eccentric options a typographer has at his or her disposal’. Leading the reader through typographies which are focused around puns, metaphors and pastiche, amongst others, the book is as inspiring as it is informative.


IS IT ANY GOOD?

Simply put, yes. Yes it is very good. Simple but full of content, this collection of 50 ‘commonly uncommon’ typographies will be a hit with anyone interested in typography. As expected from a book about typography, the book is aesthetically pleasing for its reader with a clear layout and appropriate and clever accompanying pictures.

"A clear layout and appropriate and clever accompanying pictures."

The content of the book means that it is incredibly accessible to anyone in the creative industries. It makes you think deeply about the importance of typographies and also provides inspiration for future ideas.


WHO'S IT FOR?

Clearly appealing to aspiring and established typographers, the book is as relevant to anyone in the graphic design industry. Choosing the correct typography for a specific purpose is crucial and can be the difference between a successful design and one that flunks

"This book is also relevant to anyone in branding, marketing and advertising."

This book is also relevant to anyone in branding, marketing and advertising. Anyone interested in the history of design as well will find this a compelling read as it traces different styles from the past two centuries.


HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST ME?

At a more-than-reasonable £12.95 on the Laurence King website, this book is a great purchase for anyone interested in the topic. However using discount code ‘FutureRising’ you can get a 35% discount on the Laurence King website.


OVERALL VERDICT

A brilliant book for anyone wanting to learn more about typography and looking to add to their existing ideas. A cheap and concise read, it would sit well on any creative’s bookshelf!

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