This dissertation addresses the teaching of typography and book design in South Africa and how the literature relating to its education has changed during the course of the twentieth century. Several scholarly and educational book titles are compared to one another based on their approach to the subject and this is compared to the historical development of typographic technologies as they were developed in Europe. Based on the theoretical pool of the assessed books, a list of theoretical topics was drawn up and used to survey the current teaching intent of graphic design study programmes at South African tertiary education institutions.
It was found that in spite of a less direct technical focus in the teaching and learning materials, training institutions within departments and faculties of arts have developed their graphic design programmes with the intent of developing students who are technologically proficient, readily employable, artistically fluent, and aware of industrial and historical conventions in their fields. However, they do not necessarily teach historical book design conventions, focussing rather on the skills and software required for contemporary design practice.