I Wrote a Book

I wrote a book called On Web Typography and it’s finally out. It’s inspired by a presentation of the same name I gave a couple years ago, but evolved into a record of most everything I’ve learned about typography in my career.

And despite this being a book about web typography, there isn’t a ton of code to be found. That’s because getting fonts onto a page has become pretty simple these days, and the CSS around styling type is pretty thoroughly documented too. What’s not heavily covered are the steps before all that stuff: like the reasons why you might choose one typeface over another; what it means to think about typography as a system; or how typography affects the process of reading.

Intangibles like these can be more difficult to discuss because there are often many good answers. Typography has a deep, rich history—but to many, that history feels vast and impenetrable. Even type-savvy designers can get frustrated by it, often when trying to make good, well-informed design choices. What’s more, for many designers, talking about these things can be uncomfortable if you don’t have the language to express what’s in your head.

Thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way: you can wield type like a superstar today, and I want to help show you how. My book wants to equip you with the skills to make confident decisions with typefaces and typography. It’s a fantastically detailed profession, but you already know more than you think.

It Takes a Village

This book was tough on me. I foolishly imagined it would take me about six months to draft up, and here I am years later with considerably more gray hair. The fact that this book exists is in large part due to the help, ideas, support, and—most important—patience selflessly imparted by friends and colleagues. I’ve learned that writing a book takes a village.

My deepest thanks to Jeffrey Zeldman for taking me under his wing many years ago and always being there for me as an inspiration, mentor, and friend. Tina Lee and Mandy Brown, the best editors I can imagine, make me sound like a much better writer than I am and also constantly pushed for clarity in communication. Katel LeDu seems superhumanly unflappable and was the guiding light during this whole process. Nick Sherman made sure I kept my foot out of my mouth and helped with numerous figures and references; he remains one of the sharpest typographic minds in our industry. Nicole Fenton and Caren Litherland made astute observations while editing and found the right spaces between the words. I’m also grateful to everyone who helped with thoughts and ideas along the way, including our entire A Book Apart family of colleagues and authors. I imagine I will still be thanking them for years to come.

Last, and the furthest possible thing from least, I am still weeping tears of joy that Ellen Lupton wrote my book’s foreword. Her prolific work, writing, and teaching have influenced me more than I can put into words.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this book with you, but I’ve been feeling like this ever since it went to the printer. I hope you enjoy it too!

Bonus: You can check out a book excerpt from Chapter 1 over at A List Apart: How We Read.