Tradition and Transparency: Why Book Design Still Matters in the Digital Age

  • Jon Bath Arts and Science, University of Saskatchewan
Keywords: Web design, Book design, Typography, User interface, Representation of digital texts, History of printing, History of typography


Designing for the Internet can be a wonderfully enlivening experience for the graphic designer. But it can be an equally frustrating experience for typographers, as their control over typeface, word spacing, justification, and the other myriad details that define a well-crafted printed page is reduced to the most rudimentary choices. This article will examine this apparent disjuncture by first briefly outlining the historical separation between the trades of graphic designer and typographer and then discussing some of the advantages of having the designers of electronic interfaces become familiar with book typography traditions and of having electronic reading interfaces support basic typographic practices.