Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton lives up to the description found right on the cover, a critical guide for designers, writers, editors & students. Loaded with a wealth of real world examples and balances those with just as much high-quality reading to really level the playing field when it comes to understanding typography.

Princeton Architectural Press lists Thinking With Type as their all time best seller and it’s easy to see why after spending an afternoon with this book. I had the opportunity to review the second, revised edition which includes eight new sections not previously included in the first edition. Thinking With Type is a real eye opener for anyone who uses typefaces in their day to day job.

The second edition of Thinking With Type includes eight new sections including:

  • Lining and non-lining numerals
  • Small caps and large capitals
  • Optical sizes
  • Captions
  • Punctuations and ornaments
  • Font formats and font licensing
  • Mixing typefaces
  • Hand lettering

Typography has always been of high interest to me because it combines two very important aspects of visual communication… design and message. Just past the cover of Thinking With Type there a single quote centered on the first page:

Typography is what language looks like.

I couldn’t agree more and this book, with all of it’s examples, exercises and it’s easy to follow structure, you could easily increase your ability to deliver a message through typography ten fold in a single day.

Once you manage to make it through Letter, Text & Grid there is an appendix that is just as valuable as the main content with examples of proofing and an interesting section titled Free Advise full of some of exactly that! If you still want more you can find even more great content at

Ellen Lupton is one of America’s prominent design educators. Learn more about her and her books at

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