Listening to Type: Making Language Visible

“Typography cannot be faked. It is either clear, interpretive of the content, and appropriate to its message, or it is a random treatment that only superficially looks daring and current.”


My newest book, Listening to Type: Making Language Visible, will be available in August 2016. It is a partner volume with The Elements of Graphic Design, 2nd Edition, which continues as a widely-adopted text and resource for working designers.

The back cover copy reads:

An Expansive Array of Visuals, Sparkling Writing, and Thorough Research on the Evolution of Typography With this visually stunning primer, designers will develop the skills and vision to produce truly innovative, insightful type design. All the basics of type design are covered, and in-depth information is provided on more advanced topics such as the differences between type applications, how typography creates identity, and what best inspires readers. Chapters cover:

  • The language of type
  • Type and identity
  • Space and type
  • Evolving type treatments
  • Typographic unity
  • Readability and legibility
  • What makes readers respond
  • The evolution of typography

Designer Alex W. White packs the pages with fifteen hundred images, current and ancient, specially created and found, that illustrate typographic concepts and continue to yield depth, understanding, and connectivity with each viewing. Listening to Type proves that type is much more than groups of letterforms on a page; it is a language with the ability to convey meaning and evoke emotions that represent the spoken words it symbolizes.

Blubs on the back read:

“My colleague, Alex W. White, has done it again. Even if you’ve read other books by Alex, particularly his Elements of Graphic Design, Listening to Type is a revelation. This book represents his clearest and most perceptive explanation of the building blocks of effective graphic design: space, image and, above all, type.” Brian D. Miller, Partner, Executive Creative Director, MillerSmith; author of Above the Fold, 2nd ed

“Maybe Alex White should be called the type whisperer. Examples of outstanding work are abundant throughout this volume. Typography, space, image, and color are the building blocks of graphic design and are beautifully represented. Splendidly arranged and easy to understand, this book is indispensible whether you are a relative novice or seasoned professional.” Graham Clifford, Independent Design Director and Chairman of the Type Directors Club

“My library has hundreds of books about typography and graphic design. Each provides a vantage point for seeing design differently. This is the first that challenges the reader to listen to the visuals. Strange though that concept may be, there’s deep truth there, and a plethora of beauty to hear.” Charles Nix, Senior Type Designer, Monotype; Chairman Emeritus, Type Directors Club; Former Chairman of Communication Design at Parsons the New School for Design