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Reader’s Corner book of the month: September ’21

Featuring publications of relevance to our industry, including those cited in SDS e-newsletter lead articles and suggested additional reading, we’ve recently relaunched the SDS Reader’s Corner book of the month page. Each month we will showcase a suggested read that relates to our professional areas of interest, be it a seminal publication or something more tangential. We hope the books we select will offer you insights and inspiration.

If you any suggestions of books, particularly newly published ones, that you think would be of interest to our community, please email us:

For September ’21 we feature ‘Type Tells Tales‘ by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson (publication date April 2017). Available to buy now.


Type Tells Tales focuses on typography that is integral to the message or story it is expressing. This is type that speaks – that is literally the voice of the narrator. And the narrator is the typographer. This can be quite literal, for example when letters come from the mouth of a person or thing, as in a comics balloon. It can be hand lettering, drawn with its own distinctive peculiarities that convey personality and mood.


This is a book about the ways in which designers have used typography to make the reader/viewer “think more about what we read, hold and feel.” It demonstrates a range of ideas that have leant a “richness” to a typographical language, making a case for typography as its own content … [the book] widens typographical horizons, showcasing a variety of creative ways artists push the design boundaries of traditional lettering.” (Cindy Helms, New York Journal of Books)

Stretching the boundaries of typographic expression, Type Tells Tales is a sensational showcase of type that is integral to the message it conveys, with the capacity to emote, engage, and guide the reader from one thought to the next. Navigating the far reaches of graphic design, Steven Heller and Gail Anderson reveal how type can render a particular voice or multiple conversations, how letters in various shapes and sizes can guide the eye through dense information, and how type can become both content and illustration, as letters take the form of people, animals, cars, or planes.” (Good Reads)

Buy your copy now! With a RRP of £24.95  ‘Type Tells Tales‘ is currently available for  £17.99 at 13.09.2021 (including free P&P for orders dispatched to addresses within the UK) via Blackwell’s*.

Previous books of the month

Airport Wayfinding (by Heike Nehl & Sibylle Schlaich, 2021)

Type Directory (by Peter Dawson and Tobias Frere-Jones, 2019)

A Field Guide to Getting Lost (by Rebecca Solnit, 2005)

Human Spatial Navigation (by Arne D. Ekstrom, Hugo J. Spiers, Véronique D. Bohbot and R. Shayna Rosenbaum, 2018)

Macdonald Gill: Charting a Life‘ (by Caroline Walker, 2020) – March 2021

Airline Maps: A Century of Art and Design (by Mark Ovenden and Max Roberts, 2019) – December 2019

Jan Tschichold and the New Typography (by Paul Stirton, 2019) – November 2019

SDS e-newsletter lead article suggested book to read

Cognitive Mapping: Past, Present and Future (edited by Rob Kitchin and Scott Freundschuh, 2015)

Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design (by Elisabeth B. N. Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers, 2012)

Graphic Design in Urban Environments (by Robert Harland, 2016)

Understanding Mobility as a Service: Past, Present and Future (by David Hensher, 2020)

Wayfinding (by Michael Bond, 2021)

Wayfinding: People, Signs and Architecture (by Paul Arthur and Romedi Passini, 2002)


[*NOTE: This page contains affiliate links. This means the Sign Design Society may earn a commission should you chose to make a purchase using SDS-generated links direct to Blackwell’s online bookshop.]