Review of Buttrick's Practical Typography

Graphic of the dictionary definition of typography.

Graphic of the dictionary definition of typography.

While I am not hyper typographically aware, I do still care quite a bit about it. In my design, I do feel that that I practice ok typography. There are a great number of articles and stuff written by typography devotees that I will not spend very much time ranting about my likes and dislikes.

Be­cause you are a pro­fes­sion­al writer, you are already a ty­pog­ra­ph­er. You may be a re­luc­tant ty­pog­ra­ph­er. You may be an un­skilled ty­pog­ra­ph­er. But every time you put words on a print­ed page, you’ve made ty­pog­ra­phy hap­pen. So you are a typographer.
— Why typography matters, Buttrick's Practical Typography

I recently finished reading Butterik's Practical Typography. It's an online book, something that I've never seen before. It's an interesting way to publish a book. Due to the topic, I think that it is probably one of the best possible ways to publish. When I am wondering how to do something typographically, I'm very likely to google it, not to pick up some hardcover book and flip through it. I book marked it and read it on my iPad, which I think was much more comfortable to do then on a computer screen.

I didn't realize previously how inclusive typography really is. According to Wikipedia, Typography includes "the arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading (line spacing), adjusting the spaces between groups of letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning)."

The cover to our pamphlet that i am working with my co-workers to put together.

Buttrick goes through all of the different components of typography, along with font selection (which is what I used to think typography was). I found myself realizing how bad some of my typography for my day job really is. I've started adjusting my form letters that I write to my clients. I also went through and adjusted my personal letterhead (yes, I have my own letterhead, because I'm a little bit crazy).

One major project that a couple of co-workers and myself have undertaken is trying to reduce the number of forms our clients have to fill out during their initial mental health evaluation. Because we are a community counseling agency, the amount of forms they have to complete is pretty outrageous. We are attempting to go through and have a simple pamphlet. i obviously said that I would love to actually format and put together the pamphlet wanting to be able to implement some of the skills I had learned.

If you every have to write reports, letters, anything that you give to anybody else, I'd highly recommend reading Buttrick's book!