Created by designer Bethany Heck and developer Phil Moody, the Font Review Journal provides a platform for reviews and analyses of classic and contemporary typeface designs. With a minimal landing page that offers teasers of reviews, the site quickly draws visitors into its content with visual interest. Each review begins a discourse on the font by including an introduction, design details and historical influences, strengths of the typeface, and quirks and eccentricities that designers should know.
Of course, anything that carefully considers typography must have an equally considerate typographic design; Heck selected four families to use throughout the site in a controlled way. “Because the site is focused on typography, I wanted to really nail that aspect of the design and have beautiful typography in the site itself while ensuring it wasn’t getting in the way of the typefaces being reviewed,” she says. Each review features a type specimen that showcases the font’s different weights, styles and widths at different sizes. “It was very important for me to get that right,” Heck says. “I’m often frustrated by the presentation of type specimens and don’t feel they always show off enough of a font’s diversity. You have to have a point of view on how they are best used, and I’m trying to do that on this site without being overly prescriptive.”
Eschewing the typical centered, single-column layout that pervades web design, Heck created a layout that evokes print typography without sacrificing good responsive behavior. “The design enables me to accommodate images of varying sizes, so I have the freedom to use smaller imagery when that’s all that is available,” she explains. “Images are a mix of in-use examples that illustrate the strengths of a typeface and show trends in how designers are using it and custom examples I design to compare the font to other typefaces or illustrate specific traits.”
The site has garnered positive responses from the design community and from type designers, both for its design and for its content. “There is not a lot of discourse for and by designers around typefaces,” Heck says. “I hope the Font Review Journal encourages more of that to take place.”