Adobe Type Library: Reference Book – Review

Adobe Type Library: Reference Book
by Adobe Systems Inc.

Publisher: Peachpit
ISBN: 978-0-321-54472-8
Price: $44.99 US, $48.99 Canada, and £31.99 UK
Page Count: 354

The printed catalog of the contents of the Adobe Font Folio CD, and definitive reference guide to Adobe font technology.

This is the third edition of the Adobe Type Library: Reference Book–a very clever way to get you to spend an additional 45 bucks after you have paid anywhere from $2,600 to $9,000, depending upon the number of user licenses, for the Adobe Font Folio 11 CD.

But seriously, this is the definitive reference for what is arguably the greatest collection of typefaces marketed by any single company. Adobe’s Font Folio has been a staple of desktop publishers and print professionals from the earliest days of PostScript, even before it was available on CD (it was distributed in a large box of floppy diskettes–separate ones for Mac and PC). It was extensively revised a few years ago with version 10, when the entire Adobe Type Library was converted to Open Type Format (OTF), eliminating for the most part the Type 1 PostScript fonts which had to be distributed in both Macintosh and Windows formats, because the physical formats were completely different. OTF consolidated the formats, permitting the same file to be used on either platform.

The first chapters are designed to instruct the reader on the use of type, and give a good understanding of type technology. It then devotes a chapter to font styles, including subcategories of serif and sans-serif, display, pi, blackletter, and foreign language (Cyrillic, Asian, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, etc.). The first few chapters are presented in three languages: English, French, and German.

Each font in the Font Folio collection is represented in the book, organized by font name. Samples of each weight are shown (italic, bold, condensed, etc.).

Of course, use of these fonts is not limited to print applications. Web and video designers can use these fonts all the time with applications like Adobe Photoshop and Apple Final Cut Studio.

At the back of the book is an excellent bibliography of other books on type and its application in design. Character set tables are also provided, to assist the user in identifying the correct key stroke to get some of the more off-the-wall characters (Turkish dotless “i” anyone?). The charts show the correct key strokes for Mac, Windows, and Unicode.

For font junkies like me, this is a great coffee table book, something to flip through on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Like I always say, the one who dies with the most fonts, wins. If you are a professional designer, and have one Adobe font or a thousand, this is the book to buy to help you do better design, and to better leverage your likely considerable investment in fonts. rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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