The Typographic Desk Reference, 2nd Edition

The Typographic Desk Reference, 2nd Ed.

A reference guide of typographic terms and classification with definitions of form and usage for Latin based writing systems. The TDR is an encyclopedia, listing countless entries on the typographic arts.

Available in Hardcover & Paperback

“… the pages are well designed, the typography uncomplicated and airy.”

I Love Typography

“The ultimate tool for
the type geek.”

Ellen Lupton

“A beautiful book, perfect as a little present.”

Erik Spiekermann

“… a fascinating peek into the mind of our art department.”

Monocle Magazine

“… this is a must have sitting on your desk
at all times.”

Jason Santa Maria

“This is a must buy for any lover of good logical design.”


On the First Edition

The second edition with a foreword by Erik Spiekermann has over doubled in size, the specimens have been reclassified to modern standards, and the index (now 1/6 of the book) has been deeply cross referenced, allowing you to among other things find glyphs required for a particular language.

This edition goes further back into history for the simple reason that our making and using of type today is fundamentally based on the past. Read a little about type history and you’ll find we’ve actually done most of this stuff before. Read a little more and you’ll see into the future. [from the Introduction]


The second edition includes new historical information on letterpress printing, the business of composition, and type and printing tools of the past. Also included are current technologies such as OpenType and web fonts.


Anatomy & Form now contains entries on paper and book sizes, including standards for sheets and fold counts, used to compare proportions or classify book construction.


Includes a much improved scheme for classifying the TDR’s specimens which have grown to include more than 80 typefaces.


Listed with associated languages and Unicode code points, included are Latin-based glyphs and some extras such as chessmen, musical signs, and Isotype.

Super Organization

The reworked index allows the study of items in various contexts: from typographic rules (form vs physically handset) to finding the glyphs required for a particular language. Further Reading now includes places and software.

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Shipping Everywhere

Orders can be shipped to pretty much anywhere on earth.


Set continuously responsive type across any viewport.


Type Anatomy Letterpress Print

We also made this hand printed reworking of the TDR’s anatomy diagram – printed four colors, offset & letterpress, in a limited edition of 333.


The Typographic Desk Reference (TDR)
© 2009, 2016 Theo Rosendorf
First edition 2009
Second edition 2016
Written & Designed by
Typeset in Atlanta, Georgia
Edited in New Castle, Delaware
Printed and bound by Sheridan Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Published by Oak Knoll
368 pages
ISBN   9781584563129
Printed on Sheridan 55# House White
Bound in Arrestox Gunny Sak
Ribbon Marker
368 pages
ISBN   9781584563112
Printed on Sheridan 55# House White
Smyth Sewn 10pt CIS
Scuff Resistant Matte Lamination
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