Preparation for incoming MATD students

There are many good book and article lists on typography and graphic design that are worth checking out. This is not one of those: it does not replace, but adds to the standard reference lists for design. It is very selective, specifically geared to students preparing for the MA Typeface Design, and the MRes Typeface Design.




books, monographs, articles

Ewan Clayton, The Golden Thread. Atlantic Books, 2013

William Addison Dwiggins, WAD to RR: a letter about designing type. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard College Library, 1940

Jost Hochuli, Detail in typography. Hyphen Press, 2008

Emily King, ‘Digital type decade’. Eye, 10: 40, 2001 (full text, no images)

Robin Kinross, ‘The digital wave’. Eye, 7:2, 1992 (full text, no images)

–, Modern typography. 2nd ed. Hyphen Press, 2005 (And Matthew Carter’s review.)

Paul Luna, Typography: a very short introduction. Blackwells, 2018

Ladislas Mandel, ‘Developing an awareness of typographic letterforms.’ Electronic Publishing, 6: 1, 1993

Gerritt Noordzij, The stroke: theory of writing of the pen. Hyphen Press, 2005

Judith Slinn, Sebastian Carter, and Richard Southall, History of the Monotype Corporation. Vanbrugh Press, 2014 (esp. Ch. 2 and 3)

Fred Smeijers, Counterpunch: making type in the sixteenth century; designing typefaces now. Hyphen Press, 1996

Richard Southall, Printer’s type in the twentieth century: manufacturing and design methods. Oak Knoll and British Library, 2005

Walter Tracy, Letters of credit: a view of type design. Gordon Fraser, 1986

Michael Twyman, The British Library guide to printing: history and techniques. British Library, 1998

Gerard Unger, Theory of type design. nai010 Publishers, 2018

And Jan Middendorp’s Shaping text should hold no secrets from you.


Read also these articles by GL:

A few things I’ve learned about typeface design. I love typography, 2010

The next ten years, 2013

Going Global: The Last Decade in Multi-Script Type Design. Typographica, 2013

and go over these decks on SpeakerDeck:

Tools, techniques, and innovation (in typographic design) (2013)

Notes on multi-script typeface design (2014)




Be selective from these:

Steven Heller & Philip B Meggs (eds), Texts on type: critical writings on typography. Alworth Press, 2001

Rosemary Sassoon (ed.), Computers and typography. Intellect, 1993 and Computers and typography 2, Intellect, 2002 (Read especially texts by Fiona Ross and Richard Southall.)



magazines and journals

Typography Papers is the journal edited by the Department of Typography, and published by Hyphen Press. Out-of-print issues are difficult to locate, so it is worth buying the ones still in stock. The level of writing and editing is generally exemplary. (See, for example, the ‘type rich’ issue 7 and issue 9.)

Visible Language has occasionally relevant articles. One of the most important for typeface design was 19.1 (1985) with the title The computer and the hand in type design. That issue included Matthew Carter’s ‘Galliard: a modern revival of the types of Robert Granjon’ and Jack Stauffacher’s ‘The Transylvanian Phoenix: the Kis-Janson types in the digital era’. You may be able to access digital versions through institutional libraries, but it is worth buying the hardcopy.

Quarterly Eye magazine is British in its approach, and international in its scope and response. ‘Typography Special’ issues are particularly relevant. You should consider subscribing, and collect some of the back issues. Past articles are gradually made available online, but many important ones are still only available in hardcopy (e.g. Phil Baines’s ‘Face lift: new cuts at the Times’ (10:40, 2001).

The short-lived Codex magazine published three issues, which are worth obtaining.


blogs (n.b. heavily edited list)

James Mosley’s Typefoundry is the definitive example of online writing on type history.

Eye blog Type Tuesdays (but also other categories; explore the online archive or posts and articles).

Mark Jamra’s Type Culture includes a lot of good student work. There is a range: try to filter by your reading list.

Stephen Coles’ Typographica and John Boardley’s I Love Typography offer some quality control, and can reveal editorial choices. On ILT pay more attention to the ‘Type history’ series, and the designer interviews; start with Sebastian Lester’s.

Peter Bil’ak and Johanna Bil’ak-Balusíková’s Typotheque Articles section makes available many relevant articles. The site has many relevant entries, so try to prioritise.