Type Specimens is a publication, but also a design and research project and that's what I want to talk about today.
The research activities of the project will focus on two audiences: typeface user research, and type designer research, as they relate to specimens. The lines of enquiry are:
- How do you choose type?
- How do you use specimens to help you?
- What do you look for in a specimen?
- Do you purchase fonts from looking at specimens alone?
- What could type designers and foundries do to make your evaluation process easier and more efficient?
- Are bespoke specimens worth the effort? Or should they just be templated?
- Do you use specimens yourself? If not, what do you use instead?
- For complex scripts, such as Arabic, how could specimens be better designed?
Please drop me an email if you have time to participate in this research, It shouldn't take too long (maybe 20 minutes).
I'm hopeful that, given the amount of research I will undertake, that trends and themes will arise. When I did this work before, they did then, so it would be interesting to see if things have changed. That's when some design work will begin.
I'm looking to create a library of documented components for print and digital so that typefaces designers, and typeface users, can better evaluate typefaces. That could be in the form of specimens for customers, or as tools for type designers to submit to foundries. I'll continue to conduct user research as I design and build these components, iterating as I go. I'm planning to document that process openly. Not sure where yet, probably a mix of here, GitHub, maybe over Twitter also.