In college, I “borrowed” a big yellow book from the Daily Utah Chronicle, where I worked as a typesetter. It was substantial — thick and heavy (nearly six pounds), but with narrow proportions that made it easy to hold. Hours which should have been spent studying, working, or partying were spent with my head buried in this book filled with thousands of samples of digital typefaces. I was fascinated by both the contents and the sheer curiosity of the concept: an exhaustive catalog of an esoteric craft. I decided I loved type.
“FontBook” was the best thing of its kind, but it wasn’t perfect. I began to find flaws. Penciled notes filled the margins, most dealing with the “see also” cross references, which were very handy, but scarce. Over the next few years I would write to the publisher about the errors. They were both fan letters and letters of complaint: I love it. But do this. Do that. This year is wrong. That designer credit is missing.
Jump ahead to 2004. After more criticism (this time in blog form), FontShop finally grew tired of my whining and hired me. Lucky punk.
This means I was around to help make all those picky edits myself. Weighing in at 7 pounds and 1,760 pages, the fourth edition of FontBook — completed a long eight years after the last — is still the work of editors Truong, Siebert, and Spiekermann, but includes something like 6,000 additional bits of information from me and my partner-in-font-geekery, Yves Peters.
The first copies of the new FontBook arrived from the German press on Wednesday. Pardon my gloating, but I am damn proud.