Typographic Fundamentals

A book by Cyrus Highsmith about what goes on inside a paragraph of printed text.

“Cyrus Highsmith takes the lid off a paragraph of type and shows its inner workings. There is nothing you need to understand about using type that’s not in this book. Cyrus explains the correct terms for the typographic components of form and space that make a letter, a word, a line, a paragraph, and he does it with clear drawings, simple language, and a legible typeface for the text.”

— Matthew Carter

About the book

Inside Paragraphs is about what goes on inside a paragraph of printed text. The goal is to help students train their eyes to see text as typographers do. It begins with general explanations of how type works and how we read. Then the author steps through the different kinds of space within a paragraph. Finally, it puts everything together with a discussion about paragraph settings.

Typography began with paragraphs of printed text. Since then, it has evolved in all sorts of directions, sometimes leaving ink and paper behind entirely. But the printed paragraph is still a good starting point. Understanding what goes on inside provides a solid foundation on which to build.

And that’s what this book is meant to be – a foundation. Inside Paragraphs is the book Highsmith always wanted when he was a student in his first typography course.

About the author

Cyrus Highsmith graduated with honors from Rhode Island School of Design in 1997 and joined the Font Bureau. As Senior Designer, he concentrates on the development of new typefaces. He teaches typography as a faculty member at RISD and also lectures and gives workshops across the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Eye magazine has called Highsmith “one of the truly original new voices in American type design.”

Order the second edition from Princeton Architectural Press, out in fall 2020.