Twentieth-Century Type

A historical overview of typography in the twentieth century. Blackwell’s accessible writing, clear organization, each chapter covers a decade of the development of type, and rich visual illustrations make the complex revolution of type and typography approachable. While the new, revised edition is completely redesigned with updated information, the original version is much easier to read. The first edition is set in large Gill Sans with just one column. The revised version set in tiny Helvetica with two columns. If you can still find a copy of the original release, I highly recommend it.


Typography, Referenced

A typographic reference that focuses on breath rather than depth. It’s a comprehensive guide you can flip through to find quick answers, practices and inspirations on typography for your projects. Keeping it on your shelf is not a bad idea.


Developing Mobile Websites with HTML5

David Karlins’s book should have titled Developing Mobile Websites with jQuery. The book is essentially about making a mobile website using jQuery and jQuery Mobile. I am still not convinced that developing a mobile site with jQuery is better than a responsive site. Right out of the box, you have to include a jQuery mobile CSS, a jQuery library and a jQuery Mobile library. If you want your own design, you have to add another custom CSS. On the other hand, if you design a responsive site from scratch, you can just have one CSS with only the styles you need and one JavaScript file with only the functions you need.

As far as a book on learning jQuery Mobile, this one is a bit too long. jQuery Mobile isn’t that hard to learn and Kris Hadlock’s jQuery Mobile: Develop and Design is much more concise in getting the job done. It’s a bit older, but the concepts still applied.


Learning Responsive Web Design

Perhaps Clarissa Peterson’s Learning Responsive Web Design comes a bit too late into the responsive movement. If you’re still new to the game, however, you might want to scoop this comprehensive guide for beginners. The chapters on responsive content and performance are highly recommended.


Nicely Said

Writing web content is hard. Writing clear, useful, and friendly web content is much harder. Fortunately, Nicole Fenton and Kate Kiefer Lee’s Nicely Said, a concise, practical writing guide, will help you to accomplish that with ease. Whether you’re a designer or content strategist, you’ll learn finding your voice and writing how you speak. Require reading for anyone who works with content.


Book Design

A thorough and illustrative guide to book design. Andrew Haslam starts with the origins of the book and offers his own definition: “A portable container consisting of a series of printed and bound pages that preserves, announces, expounds, and transmits knowledge to a literate readership across time and space.” Then he delves into design principles including grids and typography. He even provides technical tips such as paper engineering, printing and binding. It’s both a practical and inspirational reference for book designers.


Designing Books: Practice and Theory

A breezy yet comprehensive reference for book design. Clear fundamental principles, brief categorization of different types of book and beautiful selection of design by Jost Hochuli make Designing Books by Hochuli and Robin Kinross worthy of any designer’s desk. The book itself is elegantly in Monotype Baskerville with strong complementary of Univers 75 Black.


On Book Design

Drawing from three decades of experience on book design, Richard Hendel skillfully extracts principles of what goes on inside the book. Concise explanations, generous illustrations and inside information of how designers work make it a must-read not only for book design, but also for any publication design that aims at creating effortless reading experience, including the web.


Graphic Design: A New History

Unlike Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, which begins with the invention of writing, Stephen J. Eskilson’s Graphic Design: A New History, skips right to the development of type and typography starting from Gutenberg to Bodoni. The introduction started off promising, but Eskilson doesn’t delve into typography as much as Megg in the rest of the chapters.

As far as I could tell, the only ‘new’ information on the history of graphic design is in chapter 10. Although I am glad to see Eskilson covering web design, I am disappointed to find out that only Flash and motion graphic go down as part of graphic design history. Who really care about the Flash-based promotional web site for Snakes on a Plane?

I have to read this book for my class on graphic design history, but I definitely recommend Meggs’ over it for clearer references and much more engaging reading experience.