Review: Typography Essentials: Revised and Updated by Ina Saltz

: Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working with Type
Author: Ina Saltz
Pages: 208
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Free ARC from Rockport Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Rockport Publishing via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Goodreads Summary

Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working with Type  is a practical, hands-on resource that distills and organizes the many complex issues surrounding the effective use of typography. An essential reference for designers since 2009, Typography Essentials is now completely refreshed with updated text, new graphics and photos, and a whole new look. 

Divided into four sections—The Letter, The Word, The Paragraph, and The Page—the text is concise, compact, and easy to reference. Each of the 100 principles, which cover all practical aspects of designing with type, has an explanation and inspiring visual examples drawn from international books, magazines, posters, and more.

Typography Essentials is for designers of every medium in which type plays a major role, and is organized and designed to make the process enjoyable and entertaining, as well as instructional.


Based on historical evidence (i.e. all my previous reviews), it might seem odd that I would be interested in a book about typography (or maybe you’ve read enough of my reviews to know that I’m a little weird and eclectic and my interests are relatively widespread?). The truth is, I love fonts (typeface, calligraphy, lettering, etc.) Love. Love. LOVE.

Back in my early blogging days, when there was no WordPress (yeah, that’s right, no WordPress) and Blogger was an upstart (we’re talking 2001 here people), those of us who wanted to blog had to build it ourselves. From scratch. No templates, no themes, no ready-to-go anything. And while that was a royal pain in the tuchus for those of us who had no programming experience (and a tremendous learning experience!), it also meant we had a lot of control over design. And one element I obsessed over is typeface. What font would give the right feel here? What combination of typefaces would work well together? How did it complement or highlight the rest of the theme I was trying to create? It was that early foray into blogging that led to my love of fonts, how I discovered the unlimited number of choices out there and that choosing the right typeface was as critical to the final aesthetic as color scheme and graphics. So there you go, a grossly reductive history of my love for typography. 😉

But I digress, let’s get to the book, shall we?

So. Much. Fun! Seriously. So well put together. Will you become an expert on typography reading this book? Nope. But you will walk way knowing a lot more about it than you did before, and you’ll have had the treat of seeing, in fabulous visuals, what can be accomplished with well-thought out typography choices.

By and large, my favorite element of this book is the pictures that accompanied each section. Honestly, it felt like a trip to a museum. So much creativity, so much heart and soul, so much art! In fact, it made me wonder if there were any typography museums…and guess what? There are! The closet one to me is in Massachusetts, and I can’t wait to find a time to go.

Obviously the images are not the only draw here. Each section presents a different design principle for typography, and I love that the information provided is clear and concise. It presents the principle, why it’s important, how it is best applied (and how it isn’t), and is supported by the included images. The language is accessible and terminology explained. Lovely.

What can I say? Is it a book for everyone? Perhaps not. But it’s certainly a book for me. And I imagine, if you are a creative type, it would be for you as well. Personally, I could look at the pictures all day long…

Brilliant all around!

2 Replies to “Review: Typography Essentials: Revised and Updated by Ina Saltz”

  1. What an interesting review! I used to love playing with fonts and teaching my students about them in PowerPoint. It is a little disappointing that WordPress Is fairly restrictive, but it has actually helped me focus more on content. This is not a book I would have picked, but given your review, I think that is a mistake!

    • Yes, the limitations in WordPress themes are a bit frustrating. The font limitations bother me the most, but not enough to try and build my own theme from scratch or to hunt around for the “perfect” theme. But I’ve been working on logo designs for my Etsy shop, so I’ve been playing with fonts a lot. This book was quite timely for me.

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