The Elements of Typographic Style

30 May
Visit the unaffiliated website The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web.
Consider other interpretations of Bringhurst’s ‘bible’, such as the following by Benjamin K Koh and Kaitlyn Diduck.

Bringhurst’s book is such a bible when it comes to typography that it would be silly not to include it here, or to look at how it is designed itself. I also think it’s worth looking around at how others have interpreted The Elements of Typographic Style in their own work, placing it in different formats (like the web) and playing around with the conventions of typography like the two from designers I have included here. Looking at different interpretations encourages you to think about the rules, and to see how designers are breaking or playing with them.

But, to the details. I think the overall aesthetic of this book is very clean and simple. It definitely plays around with margins, using wider spaces on the edge of pages for extra information and justifying text along the inside closer than might usually be done.

I like the way the red font on the title page is a carry-through from the cover. As I’ve already mentioned for other entries, I really think that using one strong colour (like red) plus black and white can be really effective with little effort, and I think this is a great example. The ‘of’ in italics and slightly smaller font size (I think!) is a really nice touch too.

I like the fact that the dedication is right-justified, in italics and has large enough space between each line to make it legible and attractive on the page. The lines are broken in keeping with the content of the text, as well as how it looks which I think is well done.

It’s interesting that the imprint is done in two columns – I haven’t seen this before and, to be honest, I’m not really sure it’s necessary. I don’t think you need to do anything out of the ordinary with an imprint page as it’s only a place readers will look if they are after specific information and so they’ll be looking for it in a format and layout they’re familiar with. Kind of a case of if it’s not broken …

The chapter headings are made clear by the line rule at the top of the page and the chapter number in the outside margin. The different heading styles are pretty simple to follow and are generally only one or two variations (small caps, italics, font size, etc) away from the body text style. One thing I really like is the use of the space in the margins for extra information and for what would otherwise have been footers or headers.

The index is fairly straightfoward and user-friendly – like the imprint, I don’t think you really need to do anything besides make sure your information is clearly laid-out and accessible which it is here. Again, using the outside margins to indicate where in the index you are is a great idea (kind of like a dictionary).

The appendix exhibits all the same design aspects as the other pages: all text and headings based on the body style with minimal variations where necessary to indicate different information.

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