Peachface Book Review: Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller & Lita Talarico


I'm starting something new! I have a small collection of design-related books so I'm going to be doing some reviews every now and again to help you figure out which ones you might like to invest in.

This is not a sponsored post in any way, I just want to share the design books I love!

First up is one of my favourite sources of inspiration: Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico.

Great if you:

  • Love looking at other designers sketchbooks
  • Want a behind-the-scenes look at lettering pieces before they are fully developed
  • Practise hand lettering or are looking to diversify your lettering skills
  • Want a comprehensive source of inspiration of letterforms

Not so great if you:

  • Don’t utilise lettering or complex typography frequently
  • Would prefer to look at polished, finalised work
  • Prefer reading more about the process of each artist rather than just looking at their work

First things first - this paperback has a lot of content. At 367 pages, you will find plenty of inspiration here. The book is laid out by featuring a couple of pages of each artist in alphabetical order, which is great if you're looking for a specific artist but not as great if you are trying to look for a specific style. That said, it is easy to flip through and there is enough content to appeal to many letterers.

One downside is the lack of female designers. While there are some greats like the lovely Katie Daisy and Louise Fili, the majority of contributors are male. I would love to have seen a larger display of female designers to diversify the content a bit more.

Due to this the majority of styles in this book are more masculine and may not be the right inspiration hub for you - especially if you prefer the feminine modern calligraphy/brush pen style. However, I love typography in all forms so this isn't a huge issue for me. 

That said - I think the process sketches are the number one reason for getting this book, regardless of which style of lettering you tend to gravitate towards. Having an insight into other designers' processes can help you streamline yours and really open up different ways of looking for design solutions which I think is invaluable. It also gives you a huge catalogue of different ways of drawing individual letters, which is fantastic if you find yourself constantly sketching letters the same way.

Overall, I think this book is a great resource for those with a passion and an appreciation for different styles of lettering. If you value seeing other designers' sketchbooks and prototypes then I don't think you will regret this purchase. 

Do you have this book? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!