Ellen Lupton work

The second example of Ellen Lupton’s work that I have chosen is her textbook, Thinking with Type, which is one of the most used typography textbooks worldwide. It is an excellent example of her skill as an educator and an author with concise information and examples to help educate the next generation of graphic designers on typography and its potential. This demonstrates another aspect of her very diverse involvement in graphic design in addition to her work as a designer, curator, and critic.

This textbook was originally written by Lupton when she felt that she did not have one that fully explained the concepts in an easy to understand way for her students. While there are books about graphic design, few focus so completely on the artistic element of type and how that communicates a message in addition to the words used by the author or designer. As noted in the featured image caption, the textbook is now on its second edition in which it has been revised and expanded. Lupton developed an associated website with the book (www.thinkingwithtype.com) which she also regularly updates to reflect her continued learning and experiences in the field.

Personally, I took the time to look at the textbook and the preview that was available to me through my Amazon account and found it very easy to understand. I noticed that even within the textbook, the format does not follow what one may consider “standard” for college-level books. It is playful and demonstrates the topics and principles it discusses with its own formatting and text style. For me, this made the text and its discussions more engaging as I was not just reading paragraph after paragraph of history or explanations. It was also very insightful without talking down to the reader or undermining their intelligence.

As part of my portfolio for Lupton, I believe this is one of her seminal literary works. While she has many other examples of her skill in writing, Thinking with Type provides deeper analysis for the professional while still being accessible by a more general audience. This textbook with its continued revisions will most likely be used by educators and designers alike as a point of reference as well as potential inspiration for years to come.


Ellen Lupton; Thinking with Type, Ed. 2 (2010), First Edition 2004; Interior Page Example