If you're a graphic designer, you likely can't get enough of typography. I could spend hours browsing through my Pinterest feed eyeing all of the hand lettering being created these days. If it's hand lettered and vintage inspired, you've got my type heart. Okay, that combo has gotten a little ubiquitous now...but everyone's hand lettering style is a little different, so the more the merrier!
When you finally pull away from that Pinterest feed though, it's nice to get off the computer and thumb through real, in your hands, books. Especially when it comes to the visual inspiration of typography. The colors, variations, and textures are so much easier to see in detail in print. Not only that, but many of these books have historical and technical information about typography that is helpful for any designer to know. Kerning, type anatomy, hierarchy?! There's so much more to know about typography than what you initially see. So, I've put together a list of some essential and some just for fun books about good ol' typography. I have a few of these myself, and the rest I can't wait to get my hands on. Enjoy virtually thumbing through!
TECHNICAL TYPE BOOKS
These are a few of the books available for when you are getting started studying typography or need a refresher. I have Thinking With Type and the Elements of Typographic Style from a design class I took in college. It may be a little nerdy, but I LOVED learning about the technical aspects of type design; I even kept my old tests! Plus, it has been so helpful throughout my career so far in remembering the importance of things like consistent x-height and careful kerning. I still could use a refresher, so I think I'll head back to the shelf for a recap soon.
BOOKS ON LETTERING
Books showcasing hand lettering may be my favorite kind of type book. I have the Little Book of Lettering, and it is so cute in person. It's organized by artist and there are a variety of styles represented. I also have the Custom Lettering of the 50s and 60s which is a useful reference book when trying out my own hand lettering. There are novelty styles but also plenty of classy, modern styles plus elegant scripts. There is another book by the same author with 60s & 70s lettering, too. The authors of Sign Painters recently made a documentary film of the same name, which I totally want to check out. You really can't go wrong by any book from Stephen Heller or Louise Fili, like Scripts.
FOUND TYPE BOOKS
9 - Signs, Streets, and Storefronts: A History of Architecture and Graphics along America's Commercial Corridors / 10 - Typography Sketchbooks / 11 - Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads / 12 - Shelf Space: Modern Packaging Design 1945-65
These are fun extra books that show lettering in a different environment. The Signs, Streets, and Storefronts book gives a history of design in our everyday life, and is heavily illustrated. It's always fun to see a designer's process through their sketchbooks, like in Typography Sketchbooks. The Mail-Order book features vintage type from old ads, and I've always wondered what you got when you ordered from those quirky mail-in order ads. Shelf Space is a book on vintage packaging design featuring charming illustrations - yes! I have another book called Shelf Life, which features a lot of deco style packaging, from the 20s-40s.