FontBook, “the most complete digital type reference in the world”

~ 10 December 2008 ~


I’ve had in my possession for some time now a copy of FontBook. Created by FontShop International, it’s labeled as “the most complete digital type reference in the world.”

They’re right. I don’t know of any other font or typeface reference as complete as this. It’s even a juggernaut merely in weight — at nearly 3” thick, the thing weighs more than 6 pounds (3kg). (Insert joke here about weight lifting.)

With 1,760 pages, 32,000 type samples from 90 foundries, and edited by Mai-Linh Thi Truong, J├╝rgen Siebert, and Erik Spiekermann, to say FontBook is an impressive piece of work would be a terrible understatement. It’s far more than a reference. It’s a means of discovering new and similar typefaces. It’s sheer inspiration. I side with John Boardley (I love Typography) in his review of FontBook: “There really should be no studio without this in its library.”

FontBook is arranged in nine chapters: Sans, Serif, Slab, Script, Display, Blackletter, Pi & Symbols, Latin Plus, and Non-Latin. Remarkably, next to nearly every typeface in the book is a list of similar typefaces, ala “If you like this, you might also like…”

For the typographer if your life, purchase a copy for him or her this Christmas. $99 is an absolute bargain for this massive volume of canonical reference, and giver and receiver alike won’t be disappointed.

Below are a few photos of my personal copy (Flickr set). And for additional reading, see Khoi Vinh’s “One Book to Specify Them All”.

FontBook detail
FontBook detail
FontBook detail
FontBook detail

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