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Two New Books on Lettering and Type

How to Draw Type and Influence People: An Activity Book
By Sarah Hyndman
Laurence King Publishing, 2017
128 pages

Not every graphic designer aspires to be a type designer (nor should they), but every graphic designer and graphic design student can certainly benefit from learning to draw letterforms. A familiarity with the unique and specific characteristics of individual letters and how they relate to larger systems can fundamentally change one’s relationship to typography and graphic design. Hyndman’s book sets out to transform the way we see and think about type. Her basic premise is that “fonts turn words into stories.”

Formatted as an interactive activity book that will teach design empathy through a series of creative exercises, the book provides an opportunity to analyze letterforms and develop an understanding of the influences of style and context. The book’s publisher, Laurence King, suggests that typographic expertise is a subtle superpower because type can “stimulate people’s senses, lift or lower their spirits, affect their moods, and influence consumer habits.” It is this power that inspires the book’s title, a riff on the title of Dale Carnegie’s famous self-help book on leadership, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Each spread contains a different interactive activity, from the formal “Draw a Humanist Sans Serif” to the more experiential “Eat Your Words” and “Font Sniffing.” A short section at the end contains answers and resources.

To fulfill its purpose, this book must find an audience that is curious about type and willing to engage with the exercises. It is eager readers who will complete How to Draw Type and Influence People by aggressively filling it with drawings, notes, and effort.

The Golden Secrets of Lettering
Letter Design from First Sketch to Final Artwork
By Martina Flor
Princeton Architectural Press, 2017
160 pages
available in English and German

The Golden Secrets of Lettering is a beautifully illustrated guide to the art of hand lettering. Flor takes the reader on a step-by-step journey from analog to digital type and from an explanation of the difference between lettering and typeface design through the challenges of becoming a professional lettering designer. She provides basic instructions on type anatomy, shape, proportion, weight, contrast, and style, and offers useful tips for sketching with the appropriate tools and supplies. If you are interested in drawing and designing your own lettering, this book is a must-have.

Flor’s experience and beautiful work provide the expertise underlying this book. After receiving a graduate degree in type design at The Royal Academy of Art in the Hague, she opened a studio in Berlin. Martina works for many international clients and also teaches at several universities, leads workshops, and speaks at design conferences around the world.

by Liz DeLuna