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Screen capture of the FontBook app on my iPad
FontBook meets iPad

Posted on 04 August 2011, 20:57

I’ve owned (ok and treasured) a copy of FontBook, the world’s best catalogue of typefaces, since its 1993 edition. There’s something strangely beautiful and reassuring about the rational world of type, and FontBook is a book of endless exploration and even consolation for a typography freak like me.

The book not only displays over 8,000 fonts, but also provides historical references such as dates and creators for each typeface. One of its editors is the legendary Erik Spiekermann, creator of FF Meta and Officina Sans, who writes Spiekerblog.

The huge amount of information in FontBook is perfect for translation to iPad, and this has now been fabulously realised in the FontBook app, launched a few days ago. I’m just starting to use the app, but it apparently features over 620,000 typeface specimens from 110 type foundries.

You can delve into fonts by alphabetical listing, by class (serif, sans, script, display, etc.), by designer, foundry and even year. I’ve really enjoyed using the year lookup, finding out the ritzy typefaces that were hot in the late 50s, for example.

At £3.99 (or $5.99) from iTunes, this is an education and an entertainment at an amazing price.

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