The Typography Idea Book: Inspiration from 50 Masters

By Steven Heller and Gail Anderson

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  • Paperback
  • 50 color illustrations
  • 128 pages
  • 8¾ x 6¼
  • ISBN 9781780678498
  • Published August 2016

Playing with typographic puzzle pieces is one of the joys of graphic design and typographers have many entertaining, esoteric and eccentric options at their disposal. The Typography Idea Book presents 50 of the most inspiring approaches used by masters of the field from across the world. 

Geared towards helping you evolve different typographic styles, the book contains none of the technical jargon or tired old rules found in traditional tutorials but is packed with practical techniques and iconic examples. From type transformation to abstraction, via overlapping, hand-lettering, vectorizing, novelty typefaces and puns, discover all the brilliant ideas you could be bringing to your own designs.

About the Author

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the MFA Design/Designer as Author+Entrepreneur program at SVA, New York. For 33 years he was an art director at the New York Times. He is editor of AIGA VOICE and contributing editor to Print, Eye, Baseline and I.D. magazines. He is the author of more than 170 books on design and popular culture, including Design Literacy, Paul Rand, and Stylepedia. He is the recipient of the 1999 AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement and the 2011 Smithsonian National Design Award.

Gail Anderson is a designer, writer and educator, and director of design and digital media at the School of Visual Arts Press. Anderson is the recipient of the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Medal from the AIGA and the 2009 Richard Gangel art direction award from the Society of Illustrators, and has lectured about design at organizations and conferences around the world.

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Communicate through Letters

Pictorial 10

Environmental 12

Construction 14

Transformative 16

Conceptual 18

Comic 20


Create Typographic Personalities

Collage 34

Reforming 36

Obsessive 38

Extreme 40

Talking 42

Overlapping 44

Aspirational 46


Be Inspired by History

Antique 58

Vernacular 60

Avant Garde 62

Pastiche 64

Rococo 66

Swash 68

Digital 70


Explore Media and Technique

Hand Lettering 78

Brush Scrawl 80

Custom 82

Logo Type 84

Crayon 86

Blackboard 88

Vector 90

Laser 92


Create Illusion and Mystique

Flat Dimensional 98

Fluidity 100

Overprinting 102

Shadow 104


Experiment with Style and Form

Experimental 98

Smart Type 100

Lower Case 102

Minimalism 104

Expressive Reduction 100

Grids 102

Abstraction 104


Play And Improvise

Ransom Note 98

Puns 100

Rebus 102

Illumination 104

Novelty 104

Type Face 104

Integration 104

Scale 104

Jumbled 104

Initials 104

Punctuation 104