Type Matters!

Type Matters! by Jim Williams (Merrell, £17.95) is due to be published in April. The publisher sent us an advance copy to peruse…

University graphics lecturer Jim Williams’ A4 Type Matters! booklet, originally created to hand to his students, has been expanded and is set to be published in April as a notebook-style 160 page, faux leather covered book (Merrell, £17.95).

The book sets out the basics of typography and is sure to be added to graphic design course reading lists. The first chapter deals with the history of type design, the origins of typographic terminology, type measurement, Roman type and a very helpful spread entitled The Anatomy of Letterforms which will allow readers to correctly identify a stem, crossbar, descender, terminal, tittle or bowl at a glance.

Chapter two deals with setting headlines and display type, while the third chapter (by far the longest chapter) looks at setting text – from selecting a typeface through leading, kerning, letter spacing, alignment, indicating paragraphs, hanging punctuation, hyphenation, widows and orphans, apostrophes and quotation marks, ligatures and more. In short, Type Matters! is an indispensible guide to the basics of typography that no budding graphic designer should be without.

The publisher Merrell has kindly sent us an advance copy to peruse – and so here are some spreads:


Type Matters! by Jim Williams is published in April this year. More details can be found at merrellpublishers.com


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  • That looks very cool. I love how clearly the concepts are illustrated. Wishlisted.

  • This is one of the most desirable books I have seen for a while. Not sure if I need or would even benefit from having it in my possession, but all I know is that I so want it!

  • Is there anything stupider than poorly designed and set books about typography.

  • Sam

    What’s a man gotta do to blag a free one of these?

  • mmmmmh more typography! I’ll add it on my wish list!!

  • Another beautiful printed guide to typography but yet another that seems to sideline typography for web? id love to see a publication that bridges this gap. A publication that helps the savvy web designer learn some finer classic typographic treatments once only achievable in print and, vice versa, to help talented print/editorial designers showcase their typographic eye in the now almost unrestricted html5 platform.

    Perhaps something is already out there?

  • Micha

    if you actually need this book you are not a designer

  • Ordered my copy! I’m sure most of the content is the same as my other books, but you can never have too much typography in your life.

  • Well I’d like one!
    I got the original booklet off Jim and it was really good; simple and clear. I don’t have formal Graphic Design training so it’s a great way to brush up my type skills and learn the correct terms so I can communicate correctly with others who do.
    There’s nothing wrong with going back over the basics!

  • A

    looks lovely

  • alex

    The cover seems nice but Jost Hochuli’s detail in typography seems to have this covered,…. might even find out where design choices were made, sorry jim — were all influenced, but this appears to be, from these examples – a little close to the bone for me.


  • Looks great, very well produced and the layout looks nice, clean, simple and easy to absorb. Great work Jim and Merrell.

  • I learnt a lot about typography whilst at university from Jim Williams. I think it’s admirable to have devoted such efforts with the aim of helping others.

  • Natalie McKenna

    Great knowledge of typography, clean lovely layout and a definite book to purchase.

  • Joy Moger

    Wow. What a good looking book. It will be such a pleasure to use. It’s definitely on my wish list.

  • BJ

    At last! a book on type that is logical and clear, dealing with the fundamentals often overlooked in modern typography where (unfortunately) computers want to make most of the decisions for us.
    This should become a classic. Not only is it useful… it looks gorgeous too… I want it… now!

  • Sarah R

    This looks fantastic and is clearly meticulously researched. What a valuable and informative resource this will be to any budding typographer – as well as a beautifully designed item to cherish.

  • Mel

    I have pre ordered the book!

    I have had the privilege to see this book before it goes on sale. It has been beautifully designed and well structured. I agree with a previous comment, you can never have too much typography in your life. I think that its a must for any designer.

  • Observing this type of text you can imagine the difference in preparation between a designer who has seriously studied and an amateur who has learned only by practice … For example, there are so many designers, but few are those that are prepared on the harmony of proportions .. study, study, study!

  • Ian C


    Ridiculous comment. A good designer never stops learning & developing whilst remembering the basics

  • Mark Garner

    I think this is a must for any graphic designer, illustrator or those that appreciate, use & love typography. I agree with former comments that you cannot, quite simply, have enough information – from as many sources as possible, on typography. Jim’s passion for this subject is demonstrated on every spread. Nice one Jim, can’t wait for part II…..!!???


  • Michael Walsh

    Micha, you’re obviously not a designer then!

  • Nick

    @Ian C

    totally agree! looks a great book. and love the rounded corners!!

  • I’ve pre-ordered a copy! It looks absolutely fantastic Jim. I learnt a lot from the original Type Matters booklet and I know that I will benefit greatly from this.

  • Jim very kindly gave a talk to my students at MMU using an early draft.
    Went down a storm and nearly all have ordered a copy each.
    Says it all really. It will be ‘By my side’ forever more.
    As welcome as a fresh brew.
    Thank you Jim.

  • Love the look, feel and content. Let’s put type back at the top of the design agenda

  • James

    if you actually need this book you are not a designer
    2012-02-28 10:52:43

    Micha that is the most idiotic/ignorant/laughable comment I think i’ve ever seen on the CR blog – and there have been a few!

    Being the know-all that you obviously are, I thought you would have known what the word student meant? Not that learning ever stops at college/uni of course. Little tip for you there.

    Good luck.

  • Lovely stuff. Nice one Mr. Williams!

  • Andrew Gray

    Here here Ian C – re @Micha’s comment.

    If you are not doing all those things mentioned in your comment, how can anyone expect to produce creative, well informed, innovative design!

    I for one, pride myself on doing all of the above on a continuous basis. I can not see an end to my creative needs and the necessity for me to learn and evolve on a constant basis in order to inform my creative solutions.

    Great book by the way, I for one will be buying a copy, you never know I might even learn something!

  • Steve Wilsher

    As usual, Jim has done a beautiful job showcasing his absolute passion and respect for type. Informative and stuffed with interesting practical guidance, this should be on every designer’s and student’s “must-have” list.
    Well done Jim.

  • Len Cheeseman

    I think a lot of designers would benefit from this book, including those who design this very publication, as your drop caps are the epitome of badly crafted type. And if anyone has a spare copy,sent it to Gardens Illustrated please,as the type craft in my favourite garden magazine has been shit ever since the publication launched back in the early 1990’s…well done ,JIm, very useful I suspect.

  • A fantastic, handy-sized comprehensive book for students and professionals alike. Well done Jim.

  • John Taylor

    As an ex compositor, I feel this is a book for me, even though I’ve been in the print/advertising industry for over 35 years. I will be buying this and soon.

  • andy b

    Well done Jim we will be recommending it to all our students. There are so many type books out there now but only a few that really hit the spot when it comes to the basics. ‘About Face’ was the last good type primer I came across. I hope it sells well!

  • Looks fantastic. Clean, concise and beautiful.

    As a few above have said — my portfolio wouldn’t have been the same without his input.

  • Can’t wait to get it. Will slot next to my moleskins nicely—great format.

    Looking forward to the signing too!

  • Selina

    Students, designers and lecturers should never cease to learn about typography! Jim is an amazing typographer as he taught me at university and I can’t wait to get my hands on a signed copy… Well done, Jim!

  • A beautifully designed book that will take pride of place next to my Mac to constantly remind me that type does indeed matter!

  • Pat


    If it wasn’t for this book you may have never found out ‘Why some typefaces look bigger!’

    And just think how badly Rocco the Clown would have been misrepresented if it wasn’t for this naive waste of resources!!!

  • Ben

    Jim’s advice and huge depth of knowledge proved invaluable to me as a student. After 4 years in industry I’ll still be picking this up – you can never know too much, nor can you remember everything.

  • I am very fortunate enough to have been given a copy of the original Type Matters booklet after bumping into Jim (my old Type Lecturer 10 years ago) at Typo 11 http://tinyurl.com/6m9ymeo. Providing insight and understanding in not just the execution, but anatomy of type. I think this book should be essential reading for any fledgling typographer.

  • Very pleased to hear that this is now going to be published in April! The examples from the book look great so will have to get myself a copy too.

  • I was taught by Jim at Staffordshire and this fella has forgotten more about type than any of us will ever know. I’m sure Jim’s meticulous attention to detail will shine through in this book and it will go on to become THE essential type educational reference for both students and professionals alike.

    Add it to your collection.

  • Ray

    Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous!

    I want! I want!I want!I want!

    Now! Now! Now! Now!

  • This looks great, and will be buying a copy for our studio. :)

  • Mr M

    @ Micha:

    I totally agree. The same is true of all professions. If you need a book, that means you don’t understand what you are doing!

    Those pesky doctors who have the gall to bring in their fat copy of “Gray’s Anatomy” into work with them. Fills you with fear, doesn’t it?

    Or what about those thicko lawyers who are still reading that old textbook on 1970s case law?

    Gah, they must have not been listening when they went to school.

    In other news, Micha, you’re an idiot.

    (Or maybe I am an idiot, for feeding the trolls!)

    I am *so* looking forward to getting my hands on this book.

  • Hugh

    A labour of love and it shows.
    It’s a beautiful book, meticulously planned and presented.
    A must for budding typographers and designers.

  • I am a disgrace to my profession as I can’t wait to grab a copy…I hang my head in shame and eagerly await Micha’s (no link to his/her work of course) next design journal to complete my learning.

  • AD

    I was lucky enough to be tutored by Jim for 3 years up at Staffs and his advice on all things typographic was invaluable in dragging my standard of work up by the scruff of it’s neck.

    This’ll be indispensible for any designer, student or otherwise, who wishes to know the ins and outs of this subtle craft. I know I’ll be buying a copy (unless Jim fancies slinging me one in the post as a thanks for the plug. *nudge, nudge*).

  • peteherb

    want it.

    And for those who think you’re not a designer if you “need” this book, every designer would benefit from revisiting the essentials from time to time, & even if you don’t “think” you “need” it, every designer should have a decent comprehensive guide to Type in their library.

    Long live the rules of Type.


  • As many have said already, Jim’s help during my time as a student, was invaluable. His well documented attention to detail has stood me in good sted ever since. I too will be wishlisting this… from the screen grabs, and knowing Jim, I know this will be a book that I constantly refer to among some other less read design books.

  • Craig Chalmers

    This is such an achievement, it looks fantastic and I am looking forward to having a good read at this. As a few comments have stated – we never stop learning and this is as useful for some of us that have been in the game for a good time and also for those breaking into the industry. Good work Jim, very well done.

  • I would certainly agree with @Mark Garner – I was lucky to have the opportunity learn from Jim and obtain one of the pre-release booklets. Jim’s typography advice is invaluable and having a comprehensive guide as beautifully designed as this would be an asset for anybody interested in type from experts to beginners.

  • Carlo Falkiner

    This book is destined to become essential reading matter for all Design students, it looks good and by golly
    it will do you good. Having stood in front of design students extolling the virtues of typographical knowledge
    in both lectures and studios I wish that this book had been available to emphasize the importance of type.
    I had the pleasure of working with Jim for many years and found him to be passionate about all graphic design
    his in depth knowledge of his subject was both infectious and illuminating.
    Well done Jim, I wish nothing but success for this wonderful addition to the designers toolkit, I’ve ordered my copy !
    Carlo Falkiner.

  • I think Type Matters is going to become one of the best book in which we can see amazingly representation of different typography.

  • This book is a must for ALL designers, I for one would not be self critical by browsing through it mid annual report design! As a creative for over 16 years I still get the buzz from looking at great type!

    I want to look, listen and still learn about all aspects of type and design, so you students never stop looking, always listen and you will learn alot!


  • Jim has been an inspiration both academically and professionally to me, and this book reflects his passion and dedication to typography. I can’t wait to buy it and be amazed at what I didn’t know!

    Well done Jim, you continue to inspire.

    John H

  • Peter Robinson

    Congratulations Jim.
    I’m so glad that you’ve finally got this essential book produced.
    It looks beautiful.
    I’ve ordered mine already.

  • Looks like a great book. Its on the list. We have so many type books to choose from but having been a student of Jim’s i have no doubt that this should be first on any young typographer’s shopping list.
    Great work Jim!

  • Graham Clifford

    Congratulations Jim, now when are you going to get it published on the other side of the pond?

  • Its just lovely in a year when Design Week and New Media Age stopped doing a printed version to see that the printed word is still alive and kicking and looking beautiful. Well done Jim, congratulations on a great effort.


  • Samme

    Feedback is fantastic for a book I know has taken blood, sweat, tears and above all years of knowledge cumulated into this fantastic book.

    I would be interested to know whether Misha is in fact a designer as surely the fundamental factor in being a designer of any sorts is that you appreciate inspiration and knowledge in any form. In which case that comment would be utter nonsense.

    Lets celebrate the dedication and wisdom that is encapsulated in Type Matters


  • Di Hradman

    A true affinity with type is rare.

    Sharing it is even rarer.

    Well done Jim – type to delight!

  • This beautiful and informative book reflects the personal dedication and passion for typography that Jim positively oozes!
    I have been fortunate enough to witness this publication grow from teaching materials for students to a book to be valued by all designers.
    Well done Jim…you are an inspiration!

  • Graham

    A real passionate publication.

    A long time coming.

    A true credit to you Jim.

    All the chicken breast.


  • dave

    another way to fleece money from design students. what a self indugent format. just get them to read Bringhurst and be done with it.

  • Jon Canning

    A great looking and, no doubt, highly informative book.

    Jim is as passionate about type today as he was as a student and it shows in every page.

    Hope it does well.


  • Samme

    Dave that comment is ridiculous

  • Frank

    This book not only looks beautifully designed but will also be a great help and resource to anybody interested in typography.

    Two reasons why I will be buying a copy – well done Jim

  • A lovely book – beautifully designed and produced.

    But more importantly – essential reference for any designer (student or otherwise) who is serious about producing high quality design solutions. Typography is fundamental to all aspects of Graphic design – it’s the golden thread, whether you’re working across print or digital – this is your bible!

    Nice one, Jim.

  • should be on any designers bookshelf…

  • John Melrose

    The best bit is where the Expert Author fake-bolds Adobe Garamond.

  • iPhil_91

    Just bought. £10 on Amazon. Hopefully help me graduate

  • Absolutely gorgeous book. Hopefully a new addition to the type library.

  • I love it! even if you are an experienced designer, you can always learn something new and use the accurate and helpful information you can find in this book.