Elliot Jay Stocks: Universal Principles of Typography

Typeset in Degular and Swear, designed by James Edmondson, Elliot Jay Stocks’s book is a lovely printed publication on web typography. The book features 100 clearly written principles accompanied by beautiful illustrations to help readers understand the key concepts.

From typographic fundamentals to choosing and pairing fonts to typography systems to OpenType and variable fonts, this book is a comprehensive guide to typography. Even though Elliot focuses on typesetting for the web, his principles can apply to other mediums as well.

His writing is friendly and his approach to typography is flexible. There are no hard rules in setting types. His principles serve as guides and not regulations. You just have to do it and get a feel for it. For example, he argues that long-form text can be set in either serif or sans serif typefaces, as he illustrated in the typesetting of his own book. I still prefer serif for long-form reading, especially for books with just text. The simplicity of sans-serif text always made me read too fast and skipped the words. I had to consciously tell myself to slow down. On the other hand, serif typefaces made me read slower, but retain the information better. That’s just my own experience.

If you are a design student or interested in improving your typesetting, Universal Principles of Typography is highly recommended. Thanks for the shout out to Vietnamese Typography.