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Commentary

Fontzone Is Both Awkward and Valuable

Typographica on January 17, 2004

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&#8221. 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

44 Comments

  1. Claudio Piccinini says:

    Well, Stephen,
    like we had not enough people barely reading about typography and lettering history (related to graphic design as well), I think a pay web magazine is the less wise thing to do.
    I do not dispute the quality of the articles (I’m sure they are great) or its completeness, wide field(s) coverage et al.
    I just barely find time to read essential stuff, I can’t see how, besides insider maniacs, this site could be good in promoting typographic, writing and lettering culture.

  2. I don’t think it’s meant to be a promotion tool for typography &#8212 it would fail miserably at that. But as a resource for type geeks and professionals, it succeeds.

  3. Nic Mulvaney says:

    Just a note on your Safari quote..
    > Now, thanks to Safariís ability to save password details
    Doesnít IE,Netscape and Mozilla all do this? I know they do on a PC.

    Youíre right, the site isnít pretty, and with a name like Fontzone, it doesn’t give it any cred. It does look very hardcore though, it would be nice to get a hardcopy of writings for your money.

  4. IE for OS X didn’t save the Fontzone pass for me. But I see no reason why PC folks should have trouble.

  5. Clive Bruton says:

    Prettiness v Practicality

    Fontzone is the result of trying to build a quick and easy to manage web site, with a high degree of accessibility. My overriding aim is to get the stuff up, rather than make it look pretty – and in that sense Iíll take Stephenís remarks as a compliment.

    Though I think some people actually like the drop caps. :-)

    Quite often I find that people who are dissatisfied with the layout somehow conspire to view it differently to me. If youíre having problems with it, then just mail us and someone will look into it.

    The key here is that the measures are always set by the user, and the thing will somehow “work” no matter what the type size set by the user.

    As to the nameÖ yeah! Difficult one really. Itís occurred to me on more than one occasion that the name isnít suitable for the content, but Iíve yet to come up with a replacement – and being realistic no one complains. Apart from anything else, as Stephen alludes, itís the content that makes the site, not the name. Something to bear in mind as well, the site kicked off in 1996, so the name has all the loaded significance that goes with that era. Additionally the initial plan was to produce a PDF-based publication, called “Fontzine” – so we just changed a letter! :-)

    There has been a suggestion that there is a Fontzone compendium printedÖ I donít see that happening in the near future – perhaps a 10th anniversary thing. To a certain extent I also donít see the point. In book form you can only ever get less than the site offers, and it’ll cost you more money than a years subscription.

    Iím basically committed to developing the site as technology moves forward, so as we can drop support for old browsers (still works with any version of Nav that supports tables) then weíll refine the look as we go – but just doing the drop cap thing was enough acrobatics for the time being (having to check for platform and browser level).

    As to Claudioís comments, if you havenít got time to read, then Fontzoneís not for you – buy Design Week or Creative Review: lots of pretty pictures, but next to zero content (IMO).

    Brit Centric? Canít really see that one. Of the writers Stephen pulls out none are British, although Spiekermann is an honourary Brit I think. :-) The writers are all over the place: Jack Yan is in New Zealand, Joel Breckinridge is in Japan, Jurgen Siebert is in Germany, Mark Eastman USAÖ

    Likewise the membership is too, the only continent we donít have subscribers in is Africa (oh, but none the of the Antartic scientist subscribe either, AFAIK).

    I would admit that the site is “anglo”-centric, in that most articles are UK or North American sourced – Iíd be very happy to offer an event listing for items in other countries, if I get the notification. Itís very hard tracking down these things without some clues.

    So if people know of conferences/events in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America (or even Africa) that we donít have listed, please mail me and weíll get them up. Ditto for any news stories.

    I think I like being described as “hardcore” :-)

  6. David says:

    Stephen’s review made Fontzone seem a little more appealing. Clive’s remarks undid all of Stephen’s work. (I especially liked the jab at Claudio – classy)

  7. Hrant says:

    > Editor Clive Bruton catches a few
    > stories that slip under the radar
    > of other outlets.

    Yes, but the bottom line is that there doesn’t seem to be enough of that to justify the cost, for most people at least. Really, the MS Typography news page covers most of Fontzone, and it’s free, plus much more objective: only a trained eye can spot the occasional editorializing in the MS coverage, while it’s laid on like maple syrup at Fontzone.

    I read a lot about type, constantly. This month is actually the first time I’ve had trouble keeping up, but that’s mostly due to the overflow of type talk in print magazines lately (Eye, HOW, Step, etc. currently all have gobs of good content). I had so much trouble I decided to just buy the current issue of Eye (at $28) before it went off the shelves. The volume at Fontzone isn’t enough to put even a small dent in my type reading habits, so I actually think the opposite of Claudio: Fontzone is for people who feel they don’t have time to read everything, and they just want the basic items, in one place. The problem of course is that the “analysis” -however informal and subjective- of timely topics here and on Typophile provides much more insight than the mere reporting of them tagged by Clive’s own particular views, especially when you consider that Clive has often repeated that he’s “not a journalist”. And I feel that people who rely on Fontzone alone are falling deeper into their tunnel vision, losing a feeling for the pulse of the real world.

    Buy a font from a small foundry instead – that way you’re helping the craftsman.

    BTW, Stephen, could you please show us the original text of your posting? There’s some fishy differences.

    hhp

  8. Stephen says:

    Really, the MS Typography news page covers most of Fontzone

    Hrant, the stuff you’re smoking there in SoCal is unusually potent tonight. There is much more than the posting of press releases at Fontzone. Did you read my review? Did you visit the site? Have a look at the Features and Reviews section for starters.

    …could you please show us the original text of your posting?

    The only substantial changes since my first posting of this article, 15 minutes before the current version, are URLs and the addition of the Typophile thread. Am I missing something?

  9. Clive Bruton says:

    David, yes, I suppose you could read the comment about reading several ways, so no real dig at Claudio, just a dig at British design magazines.

    Hrant, you should probably try to read what Stephen wrote, not what you want to read into it. As for the amount of content put up in any given period… So far in January weíve put up well over 10,000 words – which I think would put a dent in anyone else’s output.

    As to your opinion of Fontzone, hereís the easy comeback on that: you haven’t had access to the site for well over three years, so I find it really difficult to see how you could have any opinion as to the content.

    Iíd really suggest anyone read through what Stephen has written, as a subscriber, and an independent one at that (I donít see that he has an axe to grind either way – perhaps heíll prove me wrong).

    If people are not really interested in paying for content, or “this” content, then Iím really happy for them *not* to do so.

    And yeah, buy fonts!

  10. Nic Mulvaney says:

    Actually, Fontzone really appeals to me. You do get a hell of a lot, and after I had a minor dig at it, I think Clive sells it to me.

    > And yeah, buy fonts!
    That should make a T-Shirt.

  11. Hrant says:

    > There is much more than the posting
    > of press releases at Fontzone.

    As there is to the MS site, and most certainly Typophile for example. Just do an itemized comparison between Fontzone and the free stuff. And pardon me if I think Clive’s analysis is generally tainted, to use a very mild term indeed.

    Fontzone is worth the money, but only to a small subset of font people: those who choose to believe they shouldn’t make time to read the 2-3 free sites that most of us know and love.

    > The only substantial changes

    Please show us the original and we’ll decide what’s “substantial” and what’s not. But it’s not like I memorized the original text – it’s just an uneasy feeling that might be easily dispelled. My suspicion arises in part from knowing the type of “backchannels” shall we say that Clive and his circle favor. Don’t you remember what happened to David’s site during the Apostrophe debacle? Or maybe you just didn’t notice.

    As for replying to Clive’s points directly, I’ll decline since I don’t have my holy water and silver dagger/cross handy. Awoooooooo. Plus I’d much rather be perusing Smeijers’s new site (still part of the current logjam I mentioned), and DISCUSSING it, as opposed to paying to learn it exists and what Clive thinks of it.

    hhp

  12. Clive Bruton says:

    I have to say that Iím kind of bemused at Hrantís comments that being a Fontzone subscriber somehow excludes one from reading/viewing/posting at other type-related sites.

    Iíd suggest a glance through the Typophile thread Stephen linked to in the first post.

    Iím happy that there are a fair number of resources for people to use on the net Ė I donít feel a threat from that, Iím sure the builders of those resources donít fell a threat from Fontzone. I personally feel that all those sites have different focuses, and as a whole they are complimentary.

    Hrantís comments characterising Fontzone as your chance to read my opinions are also way off. In the last batch of articles to go up contributors included Pat Baglee, Dave Farey, Teal Triggs, Neil Macmillan and Erik Spiekermann. I think Iíd get myself into trouble if I were using those as nom de plumes.

    But, Iíll confess to having an opinion now and then.

  13. Claudio Piccinini says:

    >As to Claudioís comments, if you havenít got time to read, then Fontzoneís not for you – buy Design Week or Creative Review: lots of pretty pictures, but next to zero content (IMO).

    Maybe I’ve not been clear: I have not said I’ve not time to read. I’ve not enough time to read *on the web*, since it’s the number one source of distraction for me, and this may largely be a personal thing. If you talk that way, this means you know nothing about me. I barely know what Design Week or Creative Review are. I always disliked type/design books or a magazines based just on pictures. My most fancy has been subscribing to Baseline and Eye for some years, which is hardly fancy. I’d rather be looking for old Visible Language issues on ebay, instead of paying for an online publication. That’s just what I meant.
    In my opinion, if you’ll do printed annuals (or monographies) or whatever of the fontzone articles, they may be of wider use. I’m sure your articles are excellent, so your sarcastic remrark was quite out of place.
    Slash your ego.

  14. Claudio Piccinini says:

    > So if people know of conferences/events in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America (or even Africa) that we don’t have listed, please mail me and we’ll get them up. Ditto for any news stories.

    As for these, if you are interested, you should just open your eyes. There’s almost everything you need to know about non-Latin type events et al on the web. I’ve never encountered problems as my interest in them started to grow.
    I got involved in the Building Letters project by Max Kisman, and finally made friendhip with Brode Vosloo, from Durban, South Africa. I just got informed of the Instanbul Icograda by my friend Oded Ezer (which I reported here), and our coomon friend Panos Haratzopoulos just told me about this conference in Thessaloniki, here
    It’s funny how often me and Hrant seem to converge, but please Clive, I’d like to stress my point was just on the nature of the medium of your site.
    It’s clear the resource is great, but personally I feel it not functional, as it is (on the web, subscription-based).
    I can just recall what Matthew Carter once said in an interview in Eye about type design being “a brave and arcane business” in the hands of an elite, and how he was happy that notion was gone. The culture of writing is not for elites, and typographic culture is part of that. I think Fontzone as a pay site would make sense if mostly focused on technical issues. The rest is not for a few people. At least, I don’t like to see it that way.
    Sorry if I’ve been harsh in my first post: it was not my intention.

  15. Clive Bruton says:

    Claudio,

    Iíve got to admit I have trouble understanding some of your comments, especially that I should “open my eyes”. I knew about the Intanbul design week month’s ago, because I subscribe to the ICOGRADA mailing list, I just felt that its subject was wider than was suitable for Fontzone – so it wasn’t listed. if you check the event listings at Fontzone youíll see that the Thessaloniki conference is listed, and has been for some months:

    http://www.fontzone.com/zine/events/

    I also donít really understand how GBP:23.50 can be described as being a subscription for the elite Ė it’s something like the cost of half a dozen design magazines. Even if it was some outlandish fee for some, there’s a 30 subscription option that’s just GBP:3.53 (which has some restrictions).

    If you’d like to see some really elitist design/technical “digital” publications you should try subscribing to the Seybold Reports – I might add that the only other place some of the articles at Fontzone are available is within those reports.

    I donít really know what youíve looked at to make a judgement of Fontzone, but really, just try taking a look through the listings – anything with a folder icon next to it you can view inside, and perhaps see some copy, or further listings.

    Finally, Iím always confused by the attitude of people that somehow itís ok to pay for print magazines, but paying for web site subscriptions is taboo.

    No irony in quoting Matthew Carter talking about the democratisation of type in a fairly expensive design magazine?

    How do you think I could persuade people to publish their articles on the open web, with no security and no payment? Itís been hard work getting to the stage weíre at, and that was one of the main reasons for taking the subscription model.

  16. Hrant says:

    > Itís funny how often me and Hrant seem to converge

    Yeah. Stop it. Visible Language, eh? That’s really the last straw. ;-)

    BTW, Thessaloniki will be amazing – don’t miss it – and not just for the conference, but for the surroundings too. I was at the one in 2002, and it was more than wonderful.

    hhp

  17. I’m current subscribed to FZ and like the content* very much as I like Eye, Typographica, Daidala, Typographer, Tipografica and (m)any others. They all help me to built my own analyse/conclusion. I have no problem to see some of the excellent people who spend so much time publishing stuff for others on the web for free trying another way: fee based.

    Recall, that during many of years, when none of theses blogs existed, FZ was one of the only place, and it was free. Then closed and back in another way (I really should put back my Interview of Clive Bruton done couple of years ago on my own Gazette).

    As we are at typographi.ca? why Stephen and others should do that for free, hein! Congrats to all for your wonderful stuff everyday.

    * yes, the design is not at his best, sadly.

  18. Claudio Piccinini says:

    >How do you think I could persuade people to publish their articles on the open web, with no security and no payment? Itís been hard work getting to the stage weíre at, and that was one of the main reasons for taking the subscription model.

    Well, not having a full grasp of what the contents of Fontzone I’m just sure the articles are worth the subscription. As I said, maybe it’s just a personal problem of mine. I prefer articles on paper, but you are right about Eye. I stopped my subscription years ago. Now it’s prohibitively expensive and it offers often forgettable content. And just few articles on typography.

    Maybe you should just have a section of Fontzone with a selection of articles, to let people taste the content and decide to do a subscription.

    And what I meant about the web is exactly this: I wrote impulsively, and I sounded way more arrogant than I am, so apologies. That’s why I prefer paper, in the end.

  19. Clive Bruton says:

    Claudio,

    There are quite a few Ďpreviewsí of articles at Fontzone, here are some URL to help you find them:

    http://www.fontzone.com/zine/features/fz33982.arch/

    http://www.fontzone.com/zine/features/fz33951.arch/

    http://www.fontzone.com/zine/features/fz34122.arch/

    http://www.fontzone.com/zine/features/fz34393.arch/

    http://www.fontzone.com/zine/features/fz34447.arch/

    http://www.fontzone.com/zine/features/fz34506.arch/

    Here are my thoughts on Ďdesigní, with regard to Fontzone, and first a short anecdote:

    A well-known designer friend of mine emailed me and said “Uh, you want me to sort out the design of FZ for you?”.

    And I replied “whattathehellayoutalkingabout!” – so we had a bit of a row about it.

    Sometime later I visited my friend, and I remembered our argument. I had my PowerBook with me so I asked for him to take a look at the way *I* saw Fontzone, and he said “oh”.

    Anyway, we never had any more discussion of it after that.

    As far as web sites go, I think there are three elements to which people attribute design:

    Navigation/functionality
    Typography
    Graphics

    On the first one, I think that the navigation/functionality is hard to beat, main sections at head and foot, “breadcrumbs” and a search form on every page.

    TypographicallyÖ there are several things I just wonít do on a web site: Verdana cop-out, size in pixels, fixed measures and break Nav 4.x. This very much restricts what you can do, or rather, it doesnít “please” people who are looking for print facsimiles.

    I often visit web sites where the main body text is just about right for me to read – but where there are many caption and navigation elements that are so small so as to me illegible (because they are in the range of 4-5 pixels). By the time I scale up to make these elements legible… the text no longer really works in the hard-coded measure, or is too large to me able to scan through (ie you can only see relatively small passages of text at a time), and so onÖ

    I donít think that anyone will ever find these problems at Fontzone. If you do, mail me and complain.

    The third element is graphics, and their associated components: roll-overs, pop-up, etc.

    Itís really not feasible to make Fontzone a graphics heavy site, mainly because of the throughput of the site: weíre putting up 5-20 articles up a week, and the cost of “prettying-up” a small portion of those would probably double the time required to put the site together.

    Iíd rather put up more articles.

    If Fontzone were a print publication, then things would be very different, but it isnít, and they arenít.

    Jean-FranÁois, I think you have to give some credit to Simon Danielsí efforts at MS Typography over the period, as well as to Tim Rolands at the Digital Type Review, as well as to the many others who were and are putting up type news independently.

    My aim with Fontzone is to add such a mass of articles to the site that it would be worth subscribing even if no further new articles were added to it. Itís not that I intend to say Ďthere you go, itís finishedí, but with that momentum it can go on whatever my other commitments may be at any given time.

  20. >I think you have to give some credit to Simon Danielsí efforts at MS Typography over the period, as well as to Tim Rolands at the Digital Type Review

    Well, I wanted to give credits to the others you quoted, its the reason I used “and (m)any others.” somewhere!

  21. clive bruton says:

    Whoops, I think I scanned through this bit too quickly:

    >Recall, that during many of years, when none
    >of theses blogs existed, FZ was one of the only
    >place, and it was free.

    I read “FZ was the onlyÖ”. Sorry.

  22. Claudio Piccinini says:

    >There are quite a few Ďpreviewsí of articles at Fontzone, here are some URL to help you find them:

    Thank you, Clive, and apologies again for my not-so-pondered exploit. Should I put a link to fontzone in my webpages, (wherever I’ll be ready with them), is there a main page of evaluation articles to refer to, or is this link
    http://www.fontzone.com/zine/features/fz33982.arch/
    just fine? I’ve seen it’s a sort of previews index.

    I wonder what “lucky PC users” see where I see Techno in the Fontzone pages. Without the use of Techno the overall design would have a big improvement! :)

  23. clive bruton says:

    Claudio, you can use that link, or just go to the front page, the “Previews” link is always there in the headlines.

    Hmm, TechnoÖ perhaps I should have another look at the style sheet. :-)

    Windows users should see Impact, as should Mac users if they’ve loaded the fonts that either come with IE, or downloaded them from Microsoft.

    Trying to do “display” typography without the essential typefaces is a little tricky – if there were better logic behind it like:

    if the user doesn’t have Impact, then do something else (rather than just degrade on a choice of not really suitable faces)

  24. Arikawa says:

    Trying to do “display” typography without the essential typefaces is a little tricky – if there were better logic behind it like:

    if the user doesn’t have Impact, then do something else (rather than just degrade on a choice of not really suitable faces)

    Clive,

    You can indeed do quite that.

    font-family:”Techno”,”Impact”,”Another”,”YetAnother”, sans-serif;

    There is no limitation that I’m aware of. Of course, your users must have the fonts installed, and the browser interprets importance in the order they are specified, so my humble suggestion would be to use Techno and Impact as your last resorts. ;-)

    Actually, I would suggest such experimentation, since your site caters to font lovers, they are certain to have more than default Web fonts installed.

  25. Claudio Piccinini says:

    But Clive, Techno was a System font under Os9. I know I should throw it away, but I tend to keep all MacOS fonts, just in case some moron send me his/her document designed with Techno or Sand. So, not having Impact my Explorer switches to Techno. I would prefer Impact 200 times over Techno, but having no need for it, it’s not among my installed faces. Given the lack of compact system faces, I would even settle for a serif, like the good Capitals (an Os9 system face as well). It’s a Small Caps face, but at least it’s not ugly as Techno. :-P

  26. Claudio Piccinini says:

    In fact, it was the first time ever (since I use the Internet) Techno “happened” to me. After all it was a surprise. ;-)

  27. clive bruton says:

    Arikawa, yes, of course, like you write, you can degrade along a choice, and as Claudio notes the choice of condensed system faces isn’t large. So what I meant was, rather than just degrading along a choice of faces you could build some logic that did something completely different, ie:

    if (font-family: “Impact”, “Techno”) = “true”

    do some display stuff that works with a heavy condensed face

    else

    do something that’ll work with Arial/Geneva/Helvetica

    /if

    An example of something like that exist in the logic of Fontzone itself, for example:

    http://www.fontzone.com/preferences/

    The drop caps to see in the word “SET” only occur if you are using a browser level 5.0 or above, ie not Nav 4.x. If you use an older browser you just see “Set” in U&lc in the same style as the rest of the sentence.

    Now I can do some of this juggling on the server side, but trying to find out whether you have Impact or Techno installed is not within the logic you can program in a style sheet – only to degrade to something else (I hope I’m making sense).

    Also, you have to battle against different interpretations in different browsers and platforms – so again, with the drop caps thing I have to have several different style sheets available to load according to those variables (ie there’s a different one for each of IE Mac and IE Win).

    So, basically, I’m really sorry we’re not all that adventurous, but dealing with “live” text rather than text as image is still rather unpredictable.

    As a further example of that, I tried to implement the headlines/drop caps today as Futura Condensed ExtraBold, as this is ships with MacOS X. But, there’s no apparent way to have this face display correctly in both IE and Safari, without *really* messaing up some other elements and/or really abusing the parameters for font-weight or font-style.

    Basically, if I couldn’t get it to work in just two (of a possible four-five) Mac browsers, what chance have I got by the time I try Windows too?

    Claudio, you’re lucky you have Techno, the next step would be Chicago. :-)

    So, er, the best advice I have on this, unfortunately, is install Impact – come on, it’s not that bad a face. :-)

    Perhaps I’ll take another look at what’s in X, to see if there’s an option besides Futura that may work.

  28. Stephen says:

    Ahh, the preferences are very nice. Once I set the type size to a smaller size (long primer) things looked better. A pity the prefs don’t stick in Safari which is used by Mac users who make up a large proportion of people in the type world.

  29. John Butler says:

    Safari is still just a 1.1.1 release at this point. It’s still missing some important features (for example EOT embedding.)

  30. clive bruton says:

    Stephen, I’m pretty sure the prefs work ok with Safari – that’s what I use most of the time. You have to make sure you allow the cookie to be set.

    I’ll check it anyway.

  31. Clive Bruton says:

    Yep, youíre right, seems to hop about a little (itís there, then itís gone, then itís backÖ) Iíll look into it.

  32. A gentle reminder: no site is free. Someone pays for it, just not always the reader. One key difference is that nobody can complain when a free site is “awkward.” =)

  33. clive bruton says:

    Thatís kind of ironic, given that Stephenís subscription was paid for by someone else. :-)

  34. nick says:

    Stephen: this, and especially your most recent post of Speak Up! material, is getting somewhat incestuous — the media covering itself, as it were.

    For habitues of Typophile, Typographica, and SpeakUp, the redundancy palls. Understandably, you want to remain active and support one other, but it would be better to do this with some form of “contra” advertising, rather than clutter up the content. Or perhaps “Elsewhere” could be expanded.

    If we are going to debate the subject of designing web sites for live type, it would be better to use a “real” site as the subject, rather than one within the typographic sub-culture.

  35. Claudio Piccinini says:

    I’m not sure I understand what Nick means.
    On the other hand, Clive, Chicago may be ugly if antialiased and in big sizes, but the original bitmap version designed in 1984 by Susan Care is a cornerstone of the onscreen aesthetic.
    Even the Truetype version remains a very cool face. I especially like the mutated versions designed in the mid-1990s by Alexander Branczyk within the Face2Face project. Czykago Script rocks.

  36. Stephen says:

    Nick – I post what I find interesting in hopes that other typography people will find it interesting as well. I don’t know how many of our readers also read Speak Up (it might be worth a survey) but I know there is a large majority who do not.

    If the emails Iíve received are any indication, this Fontzone review was useful to some people. The publication is a typography resource that many were unaware of. My intention was not to critique the siteís design ó those comments were just part of a larger take on Fontzone from a subscriberís point of view.

    Remember that those who post comments here represent a tiny portion of those who read Typographica, so it might be difficult to get a read on our audience from where youíre sitting.

    As always, I appreciate the feedback. I donít ever want to get dull. If you want to help steer our focus, the best way is to write for us. Lay off the comment button for a bit and create some new content! I like your stuff. That would rule.

  37. Hrant says:

    I no longer frequent Speak Up (simply not enough time), so I appreciated the pointer. And when I’ve already heard about something it doesn’t hurt!

    hhp

  38. Tamye Riggs says:

    Although there isn’t new content every day, I do enjoy the articles when they come in, and there are some gems among the archived content. Some people may not want to pay the price, and that’s understandable. For what it’s worth, current or new SOTA members at the professional plus and sustaining levels will receive a complimentary subscription to FontZone. We felt members might enjoy adding it to their list of typographic resources, and decided to give it a try this year.

  39. Hrant says:

    > For what it’s worth, current or new
    > SOTA members at the professional plus
    > and sustaining levels will receive a
    > complimentary subscription to FontZone.

    I think that’s worth a lot, especially when you throw in the free book (IndieFonts 1 or 2, or MetroLetters). So I might become a FontZone subscriber after all! :-)

    hhp

  40. Clive Bruton says:

    Stephen, nothing wrong with Chicago, though I prefer the earlier forms of its many mutations (the version with the non-tabular figures is a cracker, one has to wonder how it slipped through the net). I suppose I’m giving it that endorsement by it being in the style sheet at all.

    Nick, I just chipped in on this because Stephen pointed out a typo on Fontzone, indicating he was linking to that page. I thought I’d just put my point of view about a couple of issues – and it grew from there.

    If you want a *real world* look at “live” type and what adherence to standards will give you, try looking at Wired.com with Nav 4.0.

    Or, try this page with Safari and IE5 on a Mac:

    http://manual.intl.indoglobal.com/ch06s04.html

    (am I giving away my reading habits :-))

    I’m not going try to figure out why these things go so badly wrong, but they do, and with some regularity.

  41. As suggested before, I finally put back online my interview of Clive Bruton.

    http://www.typofonderie.com/gazette/articles/fontzone

  42. Claudio Piccinini says:

    Hey, it was me, not Stephen, raising the Chicago issue.
    I don’t know to which “mutations” you do refer. Branczyk interpretations were cute homages and are pretty far from what a system font should be. I mentioned those because Chicago (as the Mac itself) influenced the contemporary aesthetic.
    Charcoal may be better, but I miss Chicago.
    And, of course, Susan Kare original was a pure bitmap font (1984).

  43. Hrant says:

    There’s a great interview with Kare by Armin Vit in the current issue of HOW.

    hhp

  44. Hrant says:

    So about a year ago I got a free subscription to FontZone with my SoTA membership. I have yet to log in once. There are less than two weeks left, and since I’m open to the idea of subscribing again (I mean even if it’s not free this time), but I’m almost literally drowning in stuff to do and already spend too much time online, I wanted to ask (especially the people who know me) if I should spend some time seriously evaluating the site before it’s too late.

    hhp

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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