FontFont Introduces Forty9 Magazine

  • Handpicked Typefaces
Handpicked Typefaces | Yves Peters | November 16, 2009

I sometimes get the impression (pardon the pun) that printed specimens are on the decline. With the ease and accessibility of broadband internet it seems a waste of resources to cut down trees and pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to produce type specimens on paper. On top of that the cost for physically sending off brochures can be prohibitive for companies that operate globally.

The advantages of digital type specimens are manifold. There is no restriction on size nor page count, nor on colours or images – although detailing is limited to the resolution of the computer monitor at the end user side. PDFs can be made interactive and include direct links to additional information on the web. And file size is no real issue anymore, as current fast internet connections allow for pretty hefty files to be downloaded from websites.

Yet despite all this many type lovers keep clamouring for oldskool specimens, printed with real ink on tangible paper. Personally I also belong to that category. We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll say it again – despite the ubiquity of text on the Web, most type was meant to be seen on paper. Ivo Gabrowitsch, Marketing Director of FontFont, was struggling with this dilemma, and decided to meet the world of the digital and the analogue halfway. He enlisted the design skills of Alexander Roth who had produced some great work while interning at FSI FontShop International last spring and summer, and asked him to design a PDF magazine to showcase the FontFont 49 release. Forty9 can perfectly be navigated and viewed on screen, but is specifically designed to be printed, with a page size that accommodates the paper size of common printers. As it is only printed by the user, no resources are wasted. It truly is the best of both worlds.

You can download the Forty9 Release Mag PDF here, or browse it on Isuu. Enjoy.

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  1. “As it is only printed by the user, no resources are wasted. It truly is the best of both worlds.”

    In other words,

    “We are too cheap to print the thing, so you can do it instead!”

    Let’s just be honest here. It’s just a PDF specimen. No amount of marketing speak can disguise it. I don’t buy the ‘online is greener than print’ argument either. Got any facts to back it up?

    Posted by Jane McGovern on Nov. 16, 2009
  2. Alex, that’s just gorgeous! Love the Avancalaxy and the Dagnycane.

    Posted by Florian on Nov. 16, 2009
  3. Jane,

    Well, the logic to that is, “why print 10000 of these when 7000 of them are just going to get pitched away and never read? let’s distribute it digitally and let the user print it out!”

    The blindness inherent with this logic is one of scale: it is more resource-efficient to print 10000 of a thing in one place than to print 1 of a thing in 3000 places. The reasons are myriad, from the low cost of offset printing (for instance) relative to one-off inkjet prints, to the high quality and unique capabilities inherent in other printing processes (metallic colors, duotones, hell, spot colors of any stripe). The digital revolution is leaving an awful lot of bodies behind.

    Posted by Michael Dohrn on Nov. 16, 2009
  4. What about the trucks, planes, ships needed to distribute the specimens around the world? What if they print 10,000 and only 100 people want a copy that’s a lot of wasted resources.

    Posted by John Sly on Nov. 16, 2009
  5. Um, am I missing something? Where can I actually download it?

    Posted by Brad Brooks on Nov. 17, 2009
  6. Yeah, I want to also know the answer to what Brad Brooks asked. Where is the actual link for the downloadable file?


    Posted by Xavier on Nov. 17, 2009
  7. You can view and download it at Issuu website:

    Posted by Pedro Amado on Nov. 17, 2009
  8. Not very user friendly, I think. Why not downloadable from your own site?

    Posted by Henk Gianotten on Nov. 17, 2009
  9. Why not downloadable from your own site?

    Because yesterday I found out to my dismay that WordPress has a limit on the size of files you can upload in the CMS. Although the PDF is about 17 Mb that’s already too much for WordPress.

    I wasn’t aware that one needs an Isuu account to be able to download PDFs from Issuu. Creating an account is fast, easy, and free, but for those who’d rather not I’ve asked FSI to upload the PDF (probably on I’ll add a link as soon as that’s happened. Sorry about the mix-up; my mistake.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Nov. 18, 2009
  10. I added the downloadable PDF file in the post. Sorry it took a little while, but we were very busy preparing for the TypeKit launch.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Nov. 18, 2009
  11. Interesting, i find web specimens really useful
    for reference, but cmon, Why print? because 90% of the
    types gonna be used on paper, is different see how the
    type works printed, rather that a laser jet in an office.
    Both share great but different values on market.
    Cheers for the effort :)

    Posted by type.nasos on Nov. 18, 2009
  12. that ff unit slab specimen with the stencil version is sweet. the slab varient is what makes unit appealing to me. well done!

    Posted by Simon Robertson on Nov. 19, 2009
  13. Nice design, but “the best of both worlds” presents me with a double dilemma.
    1: print it on my b/w laser printer to get a result that approaches the sharpness of offset printing, or print a colour copy on my inkjet printer and get mediocre resolution? 2: print it one-sided and use double the quantity of paper needed for an offset copy, or go through the time-consuming process of double-sided printing? Plus, a stack of A4s is not a brochure.
    To be honest, in the end I don’t think I’ll print it at all. I’ll wait for a new edition of Made with FontFont. I so love real printed matter. :-)

    Posted by Jan Middendorp on Nov. 24, 2009
  14. Very, very neat stuff guys. I don’t buy the green thing; it’s a lot of feelgood malarkey, in my opinion. From a cost/benefit perspective, however, it makes sense; why print thousands of copies when maybe a few hundred get used?

    While there are advantages to digital, there’s nothing like holding a high quality printed piece in your hands. To me it’s a lot like having the actual CD instead of the digital files. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but something digital like this is more likely to be browsed over casually a few times and forgotten, whereas a printed piece can become a timeless reference.

    Posted by Ryan on Dec. 1, 2009
  15. While I personally love print and love my library of design books, I think having the downloadable PDF and hosting on Issuu is the ecologically responsible thing to do. Love it or hate it, the world is moving towards a more complete digital era. We went from writing in the dirt, to writing on cave walls, to chiseling stone tablets, to papyrus, to parchment, to milled paper and now pixels. Shift happens. Adapt or get left behind. Great magazine!

    Posted by Arnold Dela Cruz on Dec. 1, 2009
  16. Wow, who cares what good intentions were involved in the production of this piece. It’s fun, well designed and useful and it appeared here instantly. Use your imaginations, for chrissake. You mean to tell me you all have every possible pantone/cmyk/metallic/foil-stamp/letterpress swatch ever produced on every known paper stock–okay, maybe some of you do! Thanks for the hard work!

    Posted by Art Thompson on Feb. 9, 2010

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