The announcement of Yahoo!’s new logo recently set off a firestorm of criticism. The best pieces discussing the logo went far beyond the logo itself, and delved more into the value and the process of design and typography.

WIth the advent of desktop publishing back in the 1980’s, typography went from an arcane skillset known only to designers and printers to something we should all understand as we try to master the powerful tools that computers provide us for layout and design. But something was lost in the translation, and for most, typography remains as much a mystery as ever.

If you want your documents and publications to shine, to truly express your meaning, to be easily readable and to stand out from the crowd, a little typographic knowledge goes a long way. Butterick’s Practical Typography is a great resource, offering a ten minute course that can greatly improve your skills (and much more if you’re willing to dig deeper).

To accompany that, here’s a charming short film that puts things into historical perspective and gives a quick primer on some useful vocabulary.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He serves on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.

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Discussion

2 Thoughts on "The Basics and History of Typography"

Loved the links to the video and to Butterick’s. Thanks.

  • economicscourageous
  • Sep 16, 2013, 10:50 AM

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