Top 5 Books and Magazines for Type Inspiration

By Ronald Tau RGD, Principal and Creative Director at Meat Studio


Books are a refuge. Refuge from every push notification and every stray, un-realized design idea on our minds. There is something timeless and romantic about them. Ink on paper, their visual play with the paper it is printed on is like therapy for our design-battle scars. As typography is becoming variable, kinetic and fill-in-the-blanks for design buzzword, it is comforting to study or just stare at the printed word. 
With images circling and cycling in the same platforms we all seem to follow, books often bring us out of our “echo chambers” of inspiration and offer an in-depth place of study. Books to me are a form of intentional learning, whereas we are often reactionary in our everyday practices on social media. These 5 books offers insight and inspiration but they will never send you push notifications asking to be read!

TYPEONE magazine



Designers nowadays live on social media and a lot of our visual cues are shaped by what is curated to us by algorithms and social media giants. TYPEONE Magazine materializes the zeitgeist of our time and gives a physical presence to much type work that we encounter only virtually. It’s strange how different these well-circulated projects on Instagram feel entirely new on paper! You can purchase their typefaces and fonts here

Support Independent Type

By Slanted


Type specimens are manifestos of months and often years of laborious work. Many typefaces are developed driven by deep personal beliefs and experimentation. It is only right they are commemorated as the artful artifacts they are, beyond web specimens and trial font files! Over 400 type specimens showcased, this book is an exciting catalogue of type creations that offer alternative, often more interesting and edgy interpretations of type design as compared to the corporate font giants. 

Transcultural Type Design

By The Type

A package of three pocket-sized booklets covering tidbits of Chinese typographical history as well as bilingual typesetting. There tends to be much less discourse around non-western typography in design journalism, especially in light of tools and knowledge that is traditionally centred almost solely around a western-centric design canon. Independent publications like this shed light on the under-discussed corners of typographic history in the increasingly multicultural world we live in.


Edited by Ian Lynam, published by Slanted

TOTAL ARMAGEDDON is about design. And culture. And complexity, notably how we, as a global civilization, deal with science fiction, taste, social media, the cities we live in.
This 400-page tome of text-heavy design criticism and insight may seem like a thing of the past. After all who still reads articles that take us longer than 5 minutes to skim through? (Hopefully more of us!) As all of us are buried in endless streams of imagery, it is nice to get lost in words and deep thought instead. This book may encompass much more than typography but it sure is beautifully type set!

Shape Grammars

by Janis Maroscheck, published by Slanted

Designers feeling threatened by A.I. overtaking out jobs and creativity take notice. This book puts together systems and creates generative design, breaking down the patterns of visual and structural syntax, creating non-sensical (at least to us) but visually tense and exciting forms that resemble “alphabets”. I’m not sure that I’m on the side of humans if generative design is this good.

Ronald (@rontau) is a Chinese Canadian art director and graphic designer specializing in creating visual identities. Born in Hong Kong, raised in Toronto, relocated to Beijing, Ronald creates in multicultural creative contexts, crossing cultural borders through creativity and design. Ronald’s work has been covered and/or awarded in a variety of awards and media, ranging from the Tokyo Type Directors Club (Japan), It’s Nice That (U.K.), the Museum of New York (US), Asia-Pacific Design (China), Typojanchi (Korea). Ronald founded and operates Meat Studio ( between Beijing and Toronto.