My trip to the library: design book edition

As you may have noticed from my last post, I love books. I love how books look. I love their ability to hold knowledge—knowledge that’s more tangible than the internet. So I guess you can imagine my excitement when I went to the library a few weeks ago (my friend and I have library days every Friday) and discovered a used book sale—fill up a shopping bag of books for only $5. Of course I bought as many books that interested me, which meant the majority were novels.

You can read more about this trip from a previous post of mine, Books, books, books (and more books)

But most importantly, I found three books that relate to design. I felt melancholy for the people who donated them to be sold to others to benefit the library, but at the same time I felt I’d hit the jackpot.

The first of these books is a Letraset catalogue. Now, I didn’t know what Letraset was until about a month ago, but I realized afterwards that I had in fact heard of it but not by name. Letraset was (and still is, but has since changed its main products) a company that sells type on sheets with ink that could be rubbed onto the paper below. The book I found has specimens of all of Letraset’s typefaces in 1979. Letraset was also partnered with Pantone then, so there are also color specimens as well.

The Letraset catalogue’s cover

There are many typefaces to choose from.

There are also plenty of swashes to choose from.

There are advertisements for Pantone in the book as well.

Then next of these three books is Precision Type Font Reference Guide, Version 5.0, published in 1995. This will probably be the most helpful to me in my future typographic endeavors. It’s basically a full catalogue of all of the typefaces available at that time from the main type foundries, including Adobe. It’s great to peruse and discover new typefaces to use in future projects.

Even the cover is beautiful.

The beginning of the book explains the parts of the characters.

Each section, alphabetized by typeface name, begins with a character-in-progress.

Some good ol’ Helvetica.

A small selection of typefaces from one type foundry, Adobe.

The last book on design that I found is Design Through Discovery. This book is in fact a textbook about all different types of design, from painting to photography, and graphic design to fashion design. Even if I never read through the whole book, it is great to flip through and find some inspiration.

For some reason this cover reminds me of one of Mom’s cookbooks.

One section on graphic design deals with the placement of images and type on a page.

There is also a section about logos. I especially like this because my grandpa worked for Bell.

The book shows how certain typefaces can mean different things.

Have you ever found any great books (design or otherwise) at used book sales? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments!


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