A week or two ago, London-based graphic designer Ben Terrett, of Noisy Decent Graphics, asked his readers this question:
What typographic advice would you give a third year design student?
I read the comments with interest and here I’ve picked out a few of the most useful typography tips.
“Don’t underestimate its importance. The best ideas, the most beautiful imagery, the most harmonious colour combinations will be blighted by inferior typography. So work at it, study it.
“Look at all those great names in graphic design history; Tschichold, Schleger, Rand, Fletcher, Aicher, Muller-Brockmann; and look at their beautiful type. They understood the need to understand it.”
— RICHARD WESTON of ACE JET 170
“Picking up copy of Type and Typography can be immensely helpful. It’s got a particularly useful section about the styling of details within text.”
— ALISTAIR HALL of WE MADE THIS
“As always, make sure you play with silly ideas on paper too, they get the creative juice flowing.”
— FERNANDO LINS
I completely agree. The importance of using a pencil and paper in graphic design is something I can’t stress enough.
“Look at historical design masters, don’t dismiss them because they are old or because you have seen it all before. Richard Hollis’ book on Swiss Graphic Design is great because it covers so many masters and shows you so many examples of work.
“I also second the suggestion of getting a boring book about rules. The details is what I look at. If you haven’t got them down then they will stand out, but that’s just me: a dusty old fogey. If I see an en dash used properly I appreciate it. Robert Bringhurt’s book, The Elements of Typographic Style, is great for this.”
There’s a quote from a Russian graphic designer that struck a chord, shown in a comment by Alicia. It reads:
“The black space can never be beautiful until the white space is beautiful.”
Other recommended typography books:
What typographic advice would you give to a design student?
Update: 01 May 2009
The Type Directors Club lists an excellent array of typography books.
Visit The Designer’s Bookstore for more personal recommendations.