About a year ago, after I questioned its value, an anonymous benefactor gave me a subscription to Fontzone, the fee-based, online magazine of typography. It took me a few weeks to dig in because of an arcane account system in which members are issued an unchangeable password. Now, thanks to Safari’s ability to save password details, I am automatically logged in whenever I visit.
The site isn’t pretty. Sadly, it falls victim to the strange truth that some typography enthusiasts just aren’t meant to practice graphic design. Still, if you can overlook the wacky drop caps, awkward layout, and Geneva body, you might appreciate Fontzone’s exclusive content, which steadily grows, and is now rich enough to make the site worthy of the yearly subscription price (£23.50/$37.50).
Editor Clive Bruton catches a few stories that slip under the radar of other outlets. Just last Friday he reviewed Fresh Fonts, a compendium I hadn’t yet heard of, that he says “goes a long way towards answering my criticisms of the Indie Fonts catalogue”. He also offers a bit of interesting industry analysis with examinations of MyFonts.com’s financial figures and 2002’s licensing bout between Adobe and Agfa Monotype.
The magazine boasts some big name guest columnists like Rudy VanderLans, Erik van Blokland, and Erik Spiekerman, but the most worthwhile content was added with the recent republishing of The Circular back issues from the mid-’90s. This semiannual magazine from the UK organization, The Typographic Circle, has produced some excellent articles and is still published.
Readers outside the UK might find Fontzone’s content a tad Brit-centric, and Bruton’s personal views are, at times, force-fed, but the articles are generally interesting and often not found elsewhere. It may seem unreasonable to charge for a magazine that isn’t printed, but with Fontzone’s effort to become the web’s most complete archive of typography articles, those serious about the craft should be satisfied with a subscription. If my unnamed donor is listening: thank you.
See also: Fontzone’s free WebFeed of typography news