Authority, Books, Historical, Reading, Tools

The Basics and History of Typography

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.

About David Crotty

I am the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. I oversee journal policy and contribute to strategy across OUP’s journals program, drive technological innovation, serve as an information officer, and manage a suite of research society-owned journals. I was previously an Executive Editor with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, creating and editing new science books and journals, and was the Editor in Chief for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. I received my Ph.D. in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing. I have been elected to the STM Association Board and serve on the interim Board of Directors for CHOR Inc., a not-for-profit public-private partnership to increase public access to research.


2 thoughts on “The Basics and History of Typography

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

    Posted by economicscourageous | Sep 16, 2013, 10:50 am


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The mission of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is "[t]o advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking." SSP established The Scholarly Kitchen blog in February 2008 to keep SSP members and interested parties aware of new developments in publishing.
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