As a passionate graphic designer, I love reading informative books to expand my knowledge base. I’m always searching for books that help me to learn something new and set out the fundamentals of design. This is how I came across with Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students.As

As the title implies, this book is an informative guide for creative people trying to improve their typographic skills.

This book written by Ellen Lupton is a wealth of information for those who want to learn typography and to understand why some fonts work for some designs and others just don’t. This is not a guide to using typefaces in your graphic design career, but a book that covers an extensive amount of typographic information including practice, application, and theory while keeping everything fun and lighthearted.

Three Organized Sections

Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition is organized into three sections:

  1. Text
  2. Letter
  3. Grid

Each chapter starts with an easy-to-grasp essay that reviews theoretical, technological and historical concepts that are followed by a set of practice exercises.

Every section ends with examples of work by a practitioner that elaborate creative possibilities.

I don’t deny this fact that out of all the typography books I’ve read, this one is one of the best so far. My favorite part is when the author provided a brief history and put everything he learned in context.


For me, reading a good book means acquiring lots of important information efficiently. Luckily, this book helped me a lot achieving that.  It is entirely packed with features like side notes and footnotes that engage readers with ease.

The actual 220 pages of content come from samples, exercises and “type crimes”. You can also find tons of tips on how to apply the best practices using graphic design software. Some of the suggestions are focused on general statements, and some are focused strictly on Adobe InDesign.

Thinking With Type also helps you to get answers to the questions like which kind of font to use, font size, alignment details, spacing, order, and shape. This is a well-organized book that offers an extensive appendix which includes editing, proofreading, and punctuation.

While reading the book, I found the Grid part to be the most interesting. It is a solid foundation and learning about its evolutions is what interested me the most.

Thinking with Type Ellen Lupton Book Interior

Final Verdict

Overall, I find Thinking With Type very informative and a must buy for anyone who has interest in learning typography. I’ve read many books on graphic design, and so far this is one of the best I came across.

The section on individual letters is very enlightening including the history of typefaces and all the information on the latter parts with 20th-century interfaces.

The author, Ellen Lupton, has included many great examples to show what she was talking about. Apart from being instructive, this is a well-designed piece that has really in depth of everything related to typography and design. This book is the second edition that includes a host of latest information on topics like mixing typefaces, non-lining numerals, optical sizes and hand lettering.

Have you read Thinking With Type? Let me know in the comments section!

Get the book here!

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