8 faces

8 FacesI feel very fortunate to work in an industry where art and science, creativity and technology, form and function come together in the way they do.

The web industry, in turn, is fortunate to have people like Andy Clarke, Mark Boulton and Elliot Jay Stocks to inspire us to seek and achieve beauty in our designs.

All three are highly creative visual designers as well as engaging and articulate conference speakers and workshop leaders. They are also the authors of books that highlight not just their own work and philosophies but those of their peers.

I was quick to pre-order a copy of 8 faces, a new magazine project of Elliot’s, and it was just as well I did, as it soon sold out.

No wonder, with people like Jason Santamaria, Jos Buivenga and Erik Spiekermann on board in the first issue to talk about typography: fonts, lettering, type, foundries, faces, treatments, rendering … everything to do with the presentation of words on the web.

Elliot’s idea was to plumb the thoughts of eight key people who work with type on the web, along the way asking each to list the typefaces they would use if they could have only eight.

If you are at all interested in how text is, and can be, presented on web pages and rendered by various browsers on a range of screens – and if you’re a web designer, you should be – this is fascinating and inspiring stuff.

One of the things I like about what Elliot describes as a “niche subject”, is that people who are into typography on the web see themselves as part of a historical chain, the latest practitioners of a craft that goes back beyond books and magazines in print all the way to cuneiform and hieroglyphics, as well as sideways into posters, tickets, timetables and advertising hoardings, and now onward into the digital age.

From choosing and implementing fonts for style and purpose, understanding how different fonts work together, creating illustrative lettering and designing new typefaces, right through to exploring business models for making a living out of all this, 8 Faces is both a wonderful showcase and an instructional guide.

It’s an ambitious project. $22.50 (which is what £8 worked out to) is not cheap for a magazine, but this is not your supermarket checkout kind of magazine. Producing a 210mm square 76pp paperback spinebound magazine in full cover on quality paper stock will set you back a few quid.

It must indeed have been tempting to extend the initial print run of 1,000 when it became clear the demand was there, but Elliot has said that he will keep his word to print no more, although pdf versions are available. And he’ll make sure to print more for #2, before Christmas.

I’m looking forward to it.

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