There's just one week left to buy that perfect Christmas gift for a designer friend, colleague or client. Still scratching your head? Well, if they're obsessed with typography (opens in new tab) - and let's face it, any designer worth their salt should be - then one of these brilliant books, covering everything from type fundaments to logo design (opens in new tab), may be right up their street. And you might just want to pick up one or two for yourself too...
- Also read: 257 Christmas gift ideas for creatives
01. Inside Paragraphs (opens in new tab)
Inside Paragraphs is the very book that its author, Cyrus Highsmith, always wanted when he was a student in his first typography course. Its focus is on what goes on inside a paragraph of printed text, and its goal is to help students train their eyes to see text as typographers do.
The book begins with general explanations of how type works and how we read, then steps through the different kinds of space within a paragraph. Finally, it puts everything together with a discussion about paragraph settings.
An excellent primer to the basics of typography, and - as you'd expect - a beautiful produced one to boot.
02. Little Black Font Book (opens in new tab)
This type catalogue isn't just about showcasing the company's wares - it's chiefly intended to inspire designers in their use of type and give a sense of how each font can be used.
Displaying the type on red, black and white, this paperback is small and light enough to carry around for portable inspiration.
03. The Elements of Typographic Style (opens in new tab)
This is THE typography book. Robert Bringhurst's classic work is ideal for anyone needed a fundamental grounding in the rules of typography. It goes into incredible depth and detail, making it indispensable for anyone wanting to make their typography both legible and beautiful.
04. Typography in the City (opens in new tab)
While walking her dog in Chicago, Illinois, graphic designer Lidia Varesco Racoma (opens in new tab) kept noticing great examples of typography in her neighbourhood. So so she started photographing them and posting them in her blog (opens in new tab) and eventually collated them in this book.
"A letterform on a sign. An address number. Words spray painted on the ground. From the obvious to the obscure, I was intrigued and delighted by the typography I stumbled upon, so I started snapping photos and sharing them," explains Racoma.
We're very happy she did. This elegantly presented hardcover book is a sight for sore eyes and an endless source of typographic inspiration.
05. Typoholic: Material Types in Design (opens in new tab)
Typoholic, from visual communication gurus Viction:ary (opens in new tab), is a two-pronged look at modern type-making from both commercial and personal projects. In two separate sections, starting at each cover, the book introduces more than 40 new illustrative and animated type families plus 200 pages of projects featuring custom type designs.
The 'Font to Form' section is crammed with logo marks, campaign installations, digital rendering, performance art, and more. We particularly love Toby and Pete's alphanumerical bouncy castle and Juri Zaech's elegant pushbikes. Meanwhile, the 'A to Z' section contains 27 meticulously-composed, contemporary typefaces, inspired by (and created with) everything from elastic bands to balloon animals and train sets.
06. ABC by Damien Hirst (opens in new tab)
Damien Hirst (opens in new tab) is one of the most well-known artists in the world - and one of the most controversial. Best known for his shark in formaldehyde (opens in new tab), he constantly suprises and inspires with his exhibitions.
Produced with child friendly 'soya bean ink', ABC (opens in new tab) has been created for all the family and acts as an introduction to Hirst's work. Each letter represents an alphabetically led typeface - A is for Albertus, B is for Baskerville, and so on - with each letter introducing an example of Hirst's work.
The carefully selected 26 images span Hirst's career, representing his iconic imagery, from his skulls, to his animals to his dots. It's the perfect tribute to the man who inspired a generation to push the boundaries of art and creativity.
07. The 50 Best Logos Ever (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
From the people who brought you Computer Arts magazine (opens in new tab), this is the definitive guide to the greatest identity work ever created. Even if you only have a passing interest in graphic design, it's fascinating to see what the BP logo looked like in 1930, or to chat about how the Coca-Cola identity has evolved (or not) over the past 125 years.
Ever wondered how the Penguin logo started its life? Or what Shell's logo looked like in 1901? Then this is the book for you.
Over 180 premium pages, the book dissects the world's greatest examples of logo design, showing their origins, their evolutions and interviewing the designers behind them - including Rob Janoff (Apple) and Lindon Leader (FedEx). It all adds up to a fascinating reference book on the best known marks ever created. You can learn more and read extracts from the book here (opens in new tab).
08. Just My Type (opens in new tab)
Simon Garfield's Just My Type is not a technical book, but a book of stories: about how Helvetica and Comic Sans took over the world; About why Barack Obama opted for Gotham; about Margaret Calvert, who invented the motorway signs that are used from Watford Gap to Abu Dhabi - and much more. As the Sunday Times put it, "a kind of Eats, Shoots and Leaves for letters, revealing the extent to which fonts are not only shaped by but also define the world in which we live."
Now read these!
- Web design training: the top online tools (opens in new tab)
- Check out these underrated web design tools (opens in new tab)
- The top designer resumé tips
Have we missed your favourite book off the list? Let us know in the comments below!