What are some good resources for non-designers, who perhaps write, edit or publish professional documents? Somebody recently asked this in the comments to my blog. There are quite a lot of resources I could suggest, but given limited time, we should limit the complexity/depth/scope of the resources. So given that….
Before getting into the depths of font selection, teach typography. I think Matthew Butterick’s Practical Typography is a great place to start. Short, straightforward, no-nonsense, useful, and little I could disagree with.
After that, for an intro to selecting and combining fonts, this article from Smashing Magazine is good.
At the next level of complexity, there are plenty of good longer introductions, mostly aimed at designers. Ellen Lupton’s Thinking With Type is a good start here. Nothing wrong with reading Butterick first, before moving on to this, btw!
For more advanced thought, the closest thing to a typography bible remains Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style. It is better as a reference book or to read a chapter at a time, rather than try to take it all in at once.
The original query from a business writing teacher at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs:
I teach business writing at a university and we have a document design unit. I try to get the students to understand fonts, but don’t have a good exercise, video, material, etc. about effectively using fonts. DO you have any tips, links, etc. that I might be able to use with the students to help them discover fonts beyond Times Roman and Arial and understand how to use them effectively? Thank!