Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little

Author(s): Christopher Johnson


Some of the most important verbal messages we craft are also the shortest: headlines, titles, sound bites, brand names, domain names, slogans, taglines, company mantras, e-mail signatures and bullet points. These miniature messages depend not on the elements of style but on the atoms of style. They require microstyle. Christopher Johnson reveals the once-secret knowledge of poets, copywriters, brand namers, speechwriters and other professional verbal miniaturists. In this field guide for the age of the shrinking message, each chapter discusses one tool that helps messages grab attention, communicate instantly, stick in the mind and roll off the tongue. As Johnson highlights examples of those tools used well, he also examines messages that miss the mark, either by failing to use a tool or by using it badly. Microstyle shows how to say the most with the least, while offering a lively romp through the historic transformation of mass media into the media of the personal.


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"...highly intelligent, appropriately articulate and engagingly provocative." Stanley Wells, The Times Literary Supplement "...Johnson celebrates a new generation of microstylists...although we probably draw the line at the witty text rendering of Hamlet's most famous line: 2b?Nt2b? = ?" Robert McCrum, The Observer "A work of pop linguistics...[that] synthesizes...grammar, branding, cognitive science and Web theory...with intelligence and friendly wit." The New York Times Microstyle was Steven Poole's non-fiction choice in The Guardian, December 2011

Christopher Johnson, is a blogger and branding consultant, with a PhD in linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. Author website and blog: www.thenameinspector.com Author on Twitter: @name_inspector and @microstyle

General Fields

  • : 9780393341812
  • : WW Norton & Co
  • : WW Norton & Co
  • : June 2012
  • : 209mm X 141mm X 16mm
  • : United States
  • : August 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : Christopher Johnson
  • : 256