Long before there were hi-res laser printers in every design firm and PDF specimens on every foundry website, typographers discovered, compared, and selected type using specimen books.
There is too much separation from the display to the printed page for a designer to see how the curves, the straights, and the joins truly interact. The best way to review and analyze the utility of a typeface is through viewing the samples in print. Nothing can replace this.
To this end, FontBook* is a type reference worth much more than its weight in gold. And it weighs a lot! (More than six-and-a-half pounds, in fact.)
Some might say, “but it’s a book and it can’t be updated.” True. Containing font releases up to 2006, FontBook is best used in conjunction with FontShop.com and other online vendors for a more current view of what’s available. But the book offers insight not found online, such as the “see also” cross-references, and offset printed samples complete enough to really give a good idea of what you’ll get when you go to press.
This comprehensive reference is curated, organized, and printed with loving and tender care — a vital tool for keeping things original and fresh for each client and project.
Tiffany Wardle de Sousa is a typographer living and working in San Jose, California. She earned her MA in the Theory and History of Typography & Graphic Communication at The University of Reading. Active in the type community, Tiffany has written for several design publications, served as a SOTA board member, and is a Typophile moderator.