Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works
I can’t recommend this book. It’s a little ironic that the biggest problem with a book on type is its format.
The book is divided into chapters, but each one is essentially a collection of mini-essays. In each two-page spread, the left page is an image of some kind, meant to illustrate what the right page is discussing. A couple problems:
There are no headings. Since each two-page spread is a mini-essay that is meant to stand alone, a heading summarizing what’s under discussion would have been helpful. The essay often didn’t seem to say much, or make any sort of unique point about anything. Many of the essays seemed to just run together.
The essay was divided into main text (a black, serifed font), and a sidebar which was a tiny, fluorescent orange font. The sidebar was visually hard to read (again, ironic in a book on this subject), and I couldn’t figure out how it was supposed to be thematically different from the main text. I basically read them as one uninterrupted passage of text – main, then sidebar – and I don’t know if I was supposed to.
In the end, I got little out of the book, beyond some general points about type and some understanding of the scope of decision when it comes to selecting a font.
Specifically, I was missing some practical discussion on the “meat” of type – ascenders, descenders, etc. Halfway through, I began to feel out of place, like the book assumed I had a base of practical knowledge which I didn’t actually have. As such, I think this book is more for graphic artists, and not for type novices looking to understand the core precepts of the discipline.