Typography for Lawyers. Yes, Lawyers.
How writing is presented can have a dramatic impact on how well an idea is communicated to the reader. Unfortunately, typography nerds (like myself) can spend hours debating the merits of Helvetica vs. Helvetica Neue,1 and these esoteric disputes can make the world of letterforms and typographic conventions seem arcane and impenetrable.
A few months ago, Kevin Kelly’s fantastic Cool Tools site featured a book by Matthew Butterick with the odd title, Typography for Lawyers. Even though I’m not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV), I purchased the book on the merits of the review.
Butterick, meanwhile, is a lawyer. But he was also a digital font designer in a previous life, and therefore comes by his typographic nerdery honestly. In Typography for Lawyers, he has written a concise-yet-thorough summary of the topic, covering everything from formatting conventions to typeface suggestions. The book perfectly mixes academic discussions on the foundations of typography with recommendations too meaty to classify them merely as “tips.” I refer to it regularly, and can recommend it without reservation.
For the record, I’m squarely in the Helvetica Neue camp. ↩