On A Daily Basis: The All New FontBook 2.0

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News | Jürgen Siebert | January 5, 2012

Five months ago FontShop International surprised the type world by announcing that its legendary FontBook – commonly dubbed the FontShop Bible – would from now on be an iPad app. The development team has since been busy improving its performance and adding even more features, and now the first major upgrade to version 2.0 introduces the following enhancements.

  • 250+ new and updated font families
  • expanded homepage featuring three new sections: News, Usage and Compare
  • two separate bookmark categories: Favorite and Compare
  • new online news stream featuring daily typography news, inspirations and award-winning typefaces
  • new focused search for typefaces by Use-Case, Genre, Period, and more
  • curated lists of Super Families, Alternatives, and more
  • automatic over-the-air content updates

The expanded homepage of FontBook 2.0 with the three new sections News, Usage and Compare. Notice the OTA (over the air) update indicator below the top navigation bar.

Never before has it been more fascinating to explore the world of typefaces. For the first time FontBook offers thematic lists grouped according to Genre, Period, Applications, Super Families and Alternatives. When browsing and comparing typefaces an additional bookmark named Compare allows the user to select the desired candidates. It joins the Favorites bookmark which was introduced in version 1. The News and Trends area turns FontBook into an interesting typographic resource. Posts from The FontFeed and the FontShop Blog are published under News, where type design competition winners, font charts, staff picks, and announcements of new typefaces can be found too. And the best part is that all searchable content of FontBook is continuously kept up-to-date via the newly implemented over-the-air update process.


News & Trends – Daily font portraits selected from The FontFeed and FontShop Blog, plus staff picks, font charts, award-winning typefaces, and new releases.

Many of FontBook’s new typeface collections are based on the nearly 1000 FontLists that have been published on the FontShop website the last few years. The FontShop team have analysed thousands of typefaces under the editorship of Stephen Coles and Yves Peters, grouping them according to usage, similarity, genre and many other criteria. Those lists have been updated and extended for FontBook 2.0, and grouped into usable information clusters. The Usage section contains the following groups: Genre, Period, Applications, Super Families and Alternatives. Under News users can find font charts, staff picks and various recommendations.


Staff picks & font charts – It is handy to know what’s new… it’s even better to know what’s new and notable, at your fingertips.

The essential technology that keeps the content of FontBook current is Update Over-the-Air (OTA). To import newly released typefaces, additional lists or the latest news into the app, users no longer need to download a new version or even connect the iPad to their computer: New content is automatically loaded via WiFi whenever it is available. Whenever that happens a small update indicator appears for 3 seconds below the top navigation bar.


Curated lists, constantly updated Over-the-Air – Browsing typefaces was never this easy.

One of the most popular features in FontBook is the Compare section. Previously marked typefaces can be seen side by side in three different sizes, either with default text or a custom sample word. Version 1 used the Favorite list for doing comparisons, while version 2 uses its dedicated bookmark for this type of selection.


Compare – Now it’s even simpler to find the right typeface for the job. In this example the font selection was taken from the Usage list Pseudo Greek (Genre).

Additional changes and improvements in Version 2.0:

  • Font classes and sub-classes added to the yellow font family data-sheet
  • New process animation while receiving online font rendering results
  • Expanded mini font sample Rag instead of Rg
  • Instant Compare building set update after deleting a bookmark
  • 15 noble Dutch type designers (e. g. Erik van Blokland) are now sorted by surname (not V)

Upgrading to FontBook 2.0 is free of charge. Download the new version at the iTunes App store. To get informations about news and changes follow @FontBookApp on Twitter.

Discover all the main features in FontBook 2.0 in our new 7 min video:

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12 Comments:

  1. Any chance for an iPhone version or is it too complicated? :) Thanks, best.

    Posted by iancu on Jan. 6, 2012
  2. It is not too complicated. But we found out that the basic navigation – the tree map with its tiles – does not work comfortable and unmistaken on the tiny iPhone screen. We also do not plan any Android or OS X app version. But HTML is in the works.

    Posted by Jürgen Siebert on Jan. 6, 2012
  3. Look forward to the HTML version then!!

    Posted by April on Jan. 6, 2012
  4. I would settle for a more basic comparison/cataloging iPhone based app. Maybe font recognition?

    This looks awesome though, definitely looking forward to the HTML variant.

    Posted by Andrew J on Jan. 6, 2012
  5. Wonderful improvements. I especially like the addition of the compare feature. Also, love the use of FF Ernestine as the caption face, shows off her lovely features and clarity even on screen, lo-res.

    Posted by Carina Marano on Jan. 6, 2012
  6. Beautiful! I’d like to browse my own font library like that!

    Posted by Martín on Jan. 6, 2012
  7. “Five months ago FontShop International surprised the type world ”
    I would rather say *unpleasantly* surprised the type world by transforming its universally accessible FontBook to a closed format available to a narrow segment of its intended public, while other options were readily available (HTML, for example).

    Posted by Dragos on Jan. 7, 2012
  8. I don’t have an iPad.

    I don’t plan to get an iPad just for this.

    But I *reaaally* want to use this app!

    Posted by Wei on Jan. 7, 2012
  9. It’s funny, that this site uses GEORGIA and LUCIDA GRANDE! They have millions of fonts in the backstore and they use Microsoft freeware. The font book has thousands of fonts in it BUT you can’t use them on the web as web fonts!

    Funny world. ;-)

    Posted by Stefan on Jan. 7, 2012
  10. While it looks lovely, and I applaud embracing new mediums and technology, the fact that this is ONLY available to iPad users is truly a shame. I love mac, and work on mine daily. That being said, my tablet experience is deferred to Android simply because the tablet I use offers a level of productivity the iPad does not afford (Transformer). I suppose I shall have to wait for the HTML version, but I would honestly love to know the reasoning behind limiting your customer base in such a way…

    Posted by Gina on Jan. 8, 2012
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