Above is a spread from a specimen book for the font Helvetica. Helvetica is known for being a clean, simple, no-nonsense font. The spread above does a great job not only displaying the type, but also placing it in a design that is nearly as clean and simple as the font itself. Essentially, by only using circles accompanied with letters, Emily McBain creates a strong, simple design showcasing how strong and simple the letters of Helvetica are. Emily McBain uses negative space excellently not only on the first page of the spread with her circles, but also on the second page by varying the font sizes and families.
In looking at different typefaces and their specimen books. One type that continues to stand out is Bodoni. Bodoni is the name given to the serif typefaces first designed by Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813) in the late eighteenth century and frequently revived since. Bodoni’s typefaces are classified as Didone or modern.
“The letters don’t get their true delight, when done in haste & discomfort, nor merely done with diligence & pain, but first when they are created with love and passion.”
A quote by Giambattista Bodoni which completely embodies the type. In this specimen book, the designer Krati Desot utilizes white space and keep a simple design.
This Rockwell type specimen book really caught my interest. I feel that these couple of pages specifically are very eye-catching and well designed. The theme of this book is the geometric nature of Rockwell. I like how a lot of the designs take up both pages of the spread. The colors used gives the book a formal feel with the subtle use of yellow, green, and maroon. This book does a great job at showing the character and the personality of Rockwell and definitely makes me want to use this typeface.
Below is a link to the full book.
For an example of a type specimen book I chose one that I believe is working creatively, well designed, and gives the viewer a feel for the font. In this book the artist, Mage Baltes, is showcasing Avenir, by Adrian Frutiger. The simple contrasting colors is not overwhelming the information or taking away from the beauty of the font. This specimen book is informative by giving examples of the weights and styles of the font, and also showcases examples of text using Avenir. There is a certain geometric feel and the use of the negative space with glyphs is very eye catching. In my opinion, this type specimen book is really working and is an excellent example for inspiration for anyone starting to create their own specimen book. You can see pictures on the website here:
Artist: Nada Alraddadi
I think this specimen book was done very well because the information is chunked in an effective way and it’s very organized. I also think the layout is incredible, it instantly stood out to me while looking at specimen books. The artist clearly has a very good sense of design. The color scheme is also very nice.
I discovered a specimen book on the cargocollective website. The book was designed for the font Neutraface. This layout is simplistic yet uses very interesting techniques with color and shape. I liked the way the designer, Katelyn Witmer, used boxes and lines in every page to separate information. The color on each page is consistent with the next which is something that made the whole book seem very cohesive. I really liked the history page of the book because of the way she used negative space and how the text was placed on the page.
The type specimen book that I enjoyed looking at the most was a book for the typeface Alda. The page spread that I found to be the most eye-catching was pages 8 and 9. This spread not only displayed the typeface in each available style and weight, it also showed the very beginning stages of the design. It is interesting to look on page 9 to see how Alda originated, then look back on page 8 and see how it evolved in each variation. The colors used in this book, and shown on this spread, give Alda a warm, inviting feeling that would not be there if other colors were used. Another aspect of the design of this spread that I really like is; the block to type that is on the right that explains what the picture below it is also shown on the page on the left, just larger and colored orange. This book has a habit of including the blocks of text in the actual design in various ways, and I find that it ties the book together and makes it a cohesive work. After viewing this specimen book for Alda, I am more inclined to want to use this font in my designs.
Link to Book