Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $54.00
  • October 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-500-28981-5
  • 256 pages
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.



See all options and formats starting at

Denise Gonzales Crisp (Author, North Carolina State University), William F. Temple (Author)


A typography textbook for the digital age.

This book moves beyond the traditional rules-based approach by describing typography as a system of interrelated concerns heavily influenced by the contexts of audience, medium, and message. It presents the key visual and intellectual skills necessary to make informed design decisions when using typography for modern contexts and audiences and gives full attention to designing with type in digital media.


Key concepts are explained and explored throughout

Chapter primers offer brief definitions of complex terms, illustrated with typographic examples. Unfamiliar vocabulary from a range of fields including printing technology, media studies, and computing is introduced and clearly explained. 

Print- and screen-based typography are seamlessly integrated

A range of fonts and the potential for dynamic type design are discussed, often in the context of design for digital environments. 

Contemporary and approachable

The text highlights the visual and intellectual skill set necessary to make informed design decisions and is uniquely approachable for courses requiring advanced critical-thinking skills alongside visual and technical proficiency. 



    Chapter 1: Relational Typography
    Systems + Contexts
        Relational Typography
        Systems in General
        Connotation and Denotation
    Formal Systems
        Form as a System
        Dynamic Relationships
        Hierarchy and Structure: Part I
    Typographic Messages
        Anatomy of the Message
        Defaults, Presets, and Templates
        Relative Certainty of Communication

    Chapter 2: Reading
    Traditions and Tastes
        Writing and Reading
        Reading Convention and Type Tradition
        Pragmatics and Aesthetics, Part I
    Reading Tolerance: Legibility and Readability
    Leading the Reader
        Typography Takes the Lead
        Hierarchy and Structure: Part II
        Reading Contexts
    Unwritten Messages
        Needs and Wants
        Challenges to Convention: A Few Precedents
        Novelty and Surprise

    Chapter 3: Formal Systems
    Mediating Formal Systems
        Aesthetics and Pragmatics, Part II
        Color Systems
        Gestalt: Groping and Seeking
    Pattern, Variation, and Contrast
        Order Amid Chaos
        Pattern and Variation in Typeface Design
    The Form of the Grid
        Organizational Systems
        Forming and Using Grids
    Form and Cultural Messages

    Chapter 4: Materiality
    Touching and Seeing
    Production and Reproduction
        The Four Typesetting Revolutions
        The Hot to Cold, Stone to Pixel Life of Trajan
        The Means of Delivery
    Means and Medium
        Tool and Medium
        Typographic Craft
        The Means and the Ends
        Medium: Material and Surface
        Materiality and Message
        Authenticity and the Azif Factor
        Re-materialized Type
        ‘Real Deal’ and ‘Token’ Materiality

    Chapter 5: Language
    Saying and Playing
    Rhetorically Speaking
        Consonance and Discordance
        Visual Semantics and Syntax
        Rhetorical Tropes
    Abstract and Mimetic Type
        Two Extremes. Make That Four.
    Visual Style, Rhetorically Speaking
        The Replication / Transformation Scale
        Appropriation, Vernacular, Cliché, Oh My
        Maximus Facillium: Grid Genres
        Lucidity and Ambiguity
    Message Systems
        The Connotation and Denotation Exponents
        Typeface as Identity

    Chapter 6: Disorder
    Measurement Systems
        Some Whys and Why Nots of Type Measure
        Measuring in Typogyroscopic Land
    Classes, Nomenclature, Name Calling
        Classification and Categorization
        Classification in Context
        More Squishy Categories