‘The author’s words are the heart of book design’

Richard Hendel, On Book Design (p. 33):

A designer needs to know both what an author is saying (what a book is about) and how it is being said (the actual words being used).

Assuming I can understand the subject of the book, I usually read the introduction or first chapter, and I read some of every few pages to get a sense of the author’s style. The author’s vocabulary often dictates the typeface I use.

I really want to know more about this. How, specifically, do an author’s words influence type choice? I mean, I get it. I always read text before typesetting it, and that helps me feel like my typographic choices are appropriate. But why does that work?

How does getting a feel for text affect your choice of typeface?

Topics: Intended use