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Fine Specimens — a new Kickstarter project

Article illustration for Fine Specimens — a new Kickstarter project

Last week, I launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new book called Fine Specimens. Specifically, 8 Faces presents: Fine Specimens (because why not make the most of that brand?).

This probably seems oddly timed, because the ink’s barely dry on Universal Principles of Typography — that book was published literally four weeks ago — but these are very different titles. UPoT was put out by a ‘real’ publisher (Quarto); Fine Specimens is, like 8 Faces before it, self-published. UPoT essentially took two years to make; Fine Specimens should in theory come together in a matter of months. UPoT is an educational resource; Fine Specimens is a type-finding resource. UPoT will probably have a long shelf life in actual bookshops; Fine Specimens will be very limited and won’t go on general sale.

However you look at it, they don’t compete, and buying one shouldn’t prevent someone from buying the other. To those of you who’ve bought / back both: thank you so much! The point is that Fine Specimens’ fate is not yet decided — in order for it to actually exist in the real world, I’m asking for your help. And, honestly, that’s why I’m writing this blog post today.

Where to start? Maybe with the video I put together for the campaign. In it, you’ll find me doing my best Monty Don impression.

Why should Fine Specimens exist? Well, whenever a type foundry releases a new font, they make specimens to showcase the type. These specimens may take the form of printed books, graphics for font retailers, or social media posts. But all too often, they’re lost in the continual flood of information we encounter on a daily basis. And this is crazy, because the specimen graphics are as beautiful as the typefaces themselves!

A mock-up of the Fine Specimens book

So I’ve invited my friends at independent type foundries across the world to contribute to the very first volume of Fine Specimens, in which I’ll be showcasing the typefaces they’ve released within the last year. You’ll recognise many of the type foundries who’ve agreed to submit specimens to the book (and, as I write this, there are more to be announced). Check out the montage in the video above, or take a look at the Kickstarter page for the list so far.

A mock-up of the Fine Specimens book

Importantly, no-one is paying to be included in the book. The only criteria is that these typefaces must’ve been released within the last year because I want Fine Specimens to provide inspiration to designers looking to use the very latest fonts.

And, if it’s successful, this is a formula we could repeat every year. Want to stay on top of the current type trends? Fine Specimens could be the annual go-to book for you and your colleagues. People have already been asking me about whether this’ll be an annual thing and yes, if it’s successful, it makes total sense.

Again, this isn’t a directory of fonts: this is all about the specimen graphics these foundries have created, wrapped in a beautiful book with very high production values that you’ll want to keep on your shelf forever — just like 8 Faces.

A mock-up of the Fine Specimens book

I’m so excited to be bringing another typographic project to life, and I hope this gets you excited about what Fine Specimens could be. I’d be so grateful for any help you can lend in making this another Kickstarter success story; to get this slab of typographic inspiration into the real world and, importantly, into your hands.

As I hit ‘publish’ on this little post, the project is currently 24% funded. Not bad for a couple of days — but also a long way to go. Thank you for any support you can spare!