Mitchell & Wightman: Book Typography

Cover of Mitchell and Wightman, Book Typography

A practical and thorough guide to typesetting printed books.

From the book:

“There are three standard ways of introducing notes into a text: footnotes, endnotes and sidenotes (also called shoulder notes). Footnotes are placed at the foot of the page, endnotes at the end of the main text, or alternatively at the end of the relevant chapter, and sidenotes in the fore-edge margin. An indicator – a number of symbol set in superior figures – is placed in the main text to refer the reader to the note.
When choosing which method to use, you need to consider the content of the notes. Are they important to the reader’s understanding of the text – for example, translations of foreign words and phrases – in which case foot- or sidenotes would be more helpful? Or do they mostly provide references to source material, which would be more appropriately placed with the endmatter?
The style of the book will also influence this decision. Pages of dense footnotes can make a book look ‘academic’ and will intimidate some readers.”

Internal spread of Mitchell. Book Typography

Book Typography: A designer’s manual
Libanus Press
Paperback, 2005
Michael Mitchell and Susan Wightman are book designers.


1 Function and legibility
2 The text panel
3 Fonts
4 Text composition
5 Headings
6 Prelims, titles and endmatter
7 Additional elements
8 Extent
9 Typesetting
10 Numbers
11 Illustrated books
12 Images
13 Further text treatments
14 Binding, covers and jackets
15 Pre-setting and post-setting
16 Time and money

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