Bitstream Typeface Library

Every professional working with typefaces knows that collecting fonts from contacts and incoming jobs is illegal. Yet we all do it. Well, here’s an opportunity to take the legitimate route to owning a full library of almost 1,200 high-quality font weights at less than half the price of a copy of QuarkXPress. Next to Adobe, Bitstream is probably the best-known name in the typographic business. It’s been around for almost 20 years and is responsible for some innovative technologies – including Web-font portability and rendering. The Bitstream Typeface Library comprises two CDs – Typeshop and Typeshop Pro. Typeshop contains nearly 1,100 font weights, divided into 17 major classes. From modern faces such as Deco or Industrial, to classic Sans Serifs like Humanist and Swiss; from Script faces that include Brush, Chancery and Ribbon through to Clarendon and its sub-groups, Century and News. In effect, you’re likely to find almost any classic typeface you’ve ever heard of – and many more besides. The CD is completely unlocked and ready to use, with screen and printer fonts logically arranged for quick and easy access. Typeshop Pro originally appeared in 1995, a year after Typeshop. It includes a number of ‘new’ faces including Chianti, Incised 901 (Bitstream’s version of Antique Olive) and various oddities such as Sonic, Space and Sprocket. It also has a selection of fonts in QuickDraw GX format – pretty well useless now – and what are termed Bitstream Typographer Sets, five faces with a variety of extra character presentations, such as swashes or small caps. What’s in a name? Not very much. For instance, many fonts go under the name Swiss or Century, but this neither ensures a specific shape to a face nor any particular quality. The Bitstream library, on the other hand, is a quality affair. Many faces are created by Bitstream’s own designers and others licensed from a number of reputable sources, including ITC (the International Typeface Corporation). Around 50 from the latter are on the main CD, including Caslon 224, Kabel and Tiffany.

OUR VERDICT

How often have you looked through your typeface library, loaded up a particular font and then found that the weight you actually need is the one whose screen or printer font is missing? Or suffered as your Mac continually crashes due to a corrupted screen font suitcase? Buy the Bitstream Typeface Library and such problems are a thing of the past. This is a reliable collection, and, at 25p per font weight, it’s good value.

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