A curated list of digital specimens
of the highest quality. Updated daily.
Class graphic design meets modern web design, the Commercial Classics Showcase specimen is everything you'd expect from the team involved. Notable that Michael Bierut was Creative Director for the specimen. As always, beautiful typefaces from Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz.
Smart looking specimen from Sharp. What works for me here is the progressive disclosure of the user interface which appear only on hover of selected elements. The Menu is a solid addition, too. Many specimens forego labelled sections in favour of just one, scrollable page. Having an insight into the process is a nice touch, too.
This specimen is an exercise in restraint. Just the barest of essentials are provided for the designer evaluating Anon Grotesk: a list of weights – presented as as a type tester – with the simplist of tools to just vary the font size. A PDF Specimen, available on download, mirrors the stark functionalism of the online version. The only bit of colour is the link to purchase.
At first, I was drawn to the bold, confident typesetting at the start of this specimen. It's a little tempered by the fact these are images when, really, they should be web fonts in a digital specimen. That aside, the real beauty of this specimen is at the bottom of the page with clear, instructional illustrations for the features available in the font. I think many type designers and foundries can forget that many font users do not know what 'stylist alternates', for example, might be.
This is something a little different. Universal Specimen is a single page app designed to preview and compare local fonts across multiple languages. Simple controls allow for tweaking column width, line height, and size. A really useful idea for web designers and type designers alike.
Clarinet is a work in progress I stumbled across at Future Fonts. The specimen is somewhat templated (as it's, well, a template), but the page showing examples of various types of layouts and designs are interesting. I wish these were produced with the web-fonts, however, instead of images.
Apparently inspired by the peppers of Mexican cuisine, Ancho is a bold, brash, commercial looking typeface with some interesting quirks. The ultra bold weight is my favourite. The specimen is broken up into horizontal containers and it starts getting interesting as you get down into the display of the alternates and features of some of the letters. *enormous* type. Bold, unforgiving forms that look fabulous in a web browser.
I'm a big fan of this specimen. It's clear, leads with tools that allow me to get stuck into some typesetting and evaluation, before closing with some features and a little content about the typeface. The type tester is particularly good, not only offering the standard size and weight controls, but also leading and more advanced features. We're seeing more specimens now with type testers edging towards this.
An ornamental Japanism typefamily. Inspired by traditional Japanese Inkan-Seals, Nihon takes abstracted latin letters and presents them as used by the seals. A complex goal, but the specimen walks through the results before digging into some features.
Quirky specimen for a quirky contemporary serif. Full featured type tester before moving onto interesting sections displaying various features and contexts. The specimen ends with a long form article explaining the origins and design of the typeface.
The first parametric Google font by Prototypo, the specimen for Spectral is a patchwork of user discovery. Each panel is a mouse-over animation designed to inform of the features of this experimental typeface. Impressive stuff!
Just about as bold a design as you can get. Full screen, in-your-face graphics perfectly compliment Tick and Tock's design.