Books for the Desk Set: Type & Lettering 2

Handmade Type Workshop by Charlotte Rivers
Tips, tools & techniques for creating custom typography

The book is divided into character creatin and font creation and then further divided into analog and digital creation with specific examples of how illustrators created their designs. With profiles and actual tutorials, I found this book far more useful than many of the hand lettering books on the market today. While not all the stylings might appeal to you, it certainly lifts the magicians curtain on how many styles are created.

Luckily, the information in the back about Fontographer and FontLab is short since its very dated since both of these font development programs are arcane and no longer industry standard. The rest of the book is very interesting and useful.

Get LetteringRian Hughes Says Get Lettering
If you are at all familiar with comic books, then you may already be familiar with the name Rian Hughes. He’s done the logo headers for many DC and Vertigo titles for years. If not, fret not. He’s a British type designer who is not as widely known in the US some of our homegrown heroes like Jessica Hische, Mary Kate McDevitt or the gang at House Industries. But he’s got the same great eye for pop culture, vintage signage and hand lettering.

His Get Lettering workbook is a little bit House Industries and a little bit Martina Flor (see below). It’s a playground for all sorts of lettering styles from mosaic tiles to graffiti, from monograms to superheroes. Well worth a peruse.

Golden Secrets of LetteringThe Golden Secrets of Lettering: Letter Design from First Sketch to Final Artwork by Martina Flor
The Golden Secrets of Lettering is one of the most beautiful, amazing books about lettering I have ever owned. And no sooner did I get it and gaze at every single page lovingly, that I took it to work to share with my co-workers who I knew would most appreciate it. My cubemate admitted to already owning a copy but another pal asked to borrow it briefly. I have not seen it since. So, cautionary tale. This book is that good. That if you show it to other people, they might not return it.

The chapter titles are handwritten in pencil which are stunning and the introduction is brilliant and funny and, really, who ever really reads the introduction to a book.

So, go buy yourself a copy and maybe an extra copy to loan out because you won’t get it back. This book is that good.

New Modernist Type by Steven Heller & Gail Anderson
I picked up New Modernist Type on a whim. The cover has white, blue and metallic silver lettering with the words “New” and “type” built out of triangles. I always think Steven Heller’s books are going to be high-brow, academic tomes that make me roll my eyes but this book ended up being a coffee table book of lovely design, mostly made up of sans serif (largely Helvetica-based which does cause me to roll my eyes a bit) designs. It’s grouped by three major categories: Old Modern, Playful Modern and Meta Modern and then sub-divided into smaller categories within each. With 269 pages of content, I found much of it intriguing and inspiring.

The use of color, pattern, and composition in design is shown to great effect in some of these simple designs. They are vivid, communicative and striking. The books includes packaging, signage, wayfinding, posters, business cards, book covers, page layouts, advertisements, fonts and more.

If modern type and design is of interest to you, then this is definitely an eye candy book for you. If you want more explanation about the appeal and the reasoning behind the resurgence, there is not a great deal of editorial in the book, just two pages of introduction and on the acknowledgements pages. Its indicated that this is the third book in a series starting with New Vintage Type, New Ornamental Type and New Modernist Type being the last (or is the latest, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see?).

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