This is not, by any mea­sure, a com­pre­hen­sive bib­li­og­ra­phy. Rather, it’s a selec­tion of favorites from my own book­shelf that I con­sult most fre­quently in my work as a law­yer and a typog­ra­pher.


Bryan A. Gar­ner, Gar­ner’s Mod­ern Amer­i­can Usage, 3rd ed. (Oxford Uni­ver­sity Press, 2009).

Long before he agreed to write the fore­word for this book, Bryan Gar­ner was a hero of mine. Gar­ner thinks and writes about Amer­i­can Eng­lish in a way that’s rig­or­ous, con­vinc­ing, and acces­si­ble. He is stern but not shrill; author­i­ta­tive but not author­i­tar­ian. He is a vig­or­ous advo­cate for clear, sim­ple writ­ing. His work should be manda­tory read­ing for all writ­ers.


Jan Mid­den­dorp, Shap­ing Text (BIS Pub­lish­ers, 2012).

If you get a sec­ond book on typog­ra­phy, get this one. Mid­den­dorp’s beau­ti­fully writ­ten and illus­trated book is full of care­ful details and lucid expla­na­tions.

Robert Bringhurst, The Ele­ments of Typo­graphic Style, 4th ed. (Hart­ley and Marks Pub­lish­ers, 2013).

Bringhurst’s detailed book brings together the his­tory, the­ory, and prac­tice of typog­ra­phy.

Ellen Lup­ton, Think­ing With Type, 2nd ed. (Prince­ton Archi­tec­tural Press, 2010).

Intended as an intro­duc­tion to typog­ra­phy for design stu­dents, Lup­ton’s book is more acces­si­ble than Bringhurst’s. It includes color illus­tra­tions from every era of typog­ra­phy.


Erik Spiek­er­mann, Stop Steal­ing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works, 3rd ed. (Adobe Press, 2013).

A book about fonts—how they dif­fer in appear­ance and in func­tion. Erik even used my font Equity for the body text.

Sofie Beier, Read­ing Let­ters: Design­ing for Leg­i­bil­ity (BIS Pub­lish­ers, 2012).

Beier’s thor­oughly researched and illus­trated sur­vey shows how empir­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions have influ­enced type design for hun­dreds of years.

Tim Ahrens and Shoko Mugikura, Size-Spe­cific Adjust­ments to Type Designs (Just Another Foundry, 2014).

This is the nerdi­est rec­om­men­da­tion on this list. But I can’t leave it out—it’s a beau­ti­fully pre­sented demon­stra­tion of the sub­tlety and thought that goes into the best-designed fonts.

Design principles

Edward Tufte, Envi­sion­ing Infor­ma­tion, 4th print­ing ed. (Graph­ics Press, 1990).

Edward Tufte, The Visual Dis­play of Quan­ti­ta­tive Infor­ma­tion, 2nd ed. (Graph­ics Press, 2001).

These are two of my favorite books. Tufte makes an elo­quent and com­pelling case for why design mat­ters. Both books are fan­tas­ti­cally inter­est­ing and beau­ti­fully illus­trated with exam­ples of infor­ma­tion design from many his­tor­i­cal peri­ods.

William Lid­well, Kritina Holden, and Jill But­ler, Uni­ver­sal Prin­ci­ples of Design, 2nd ed. (Rock­port Pub­lish­ers, 2010).

An excel­lent and acces­si­ble intro­duc­tion to design prin­ci­ples that apply not only to printed doc­u­ments, but to all objects that we inter­act with.