My nomination, indeed my winner, for the best typeface specimen tome since (my favorite), the 1920 798-page multilingual compendium La Fonderie Typographique Française's Catalog Général, is the 560-page, 192-language type specimen book for Typotheque, the digital foundry co-founded by Peter Bilak, that has been more than a year in the making. Finally, printed in eleven different inks, it is here—and HERE is its title. It is much more than a commercial guide to typefacesa: "It is a true community project that took the involvement of hundreds of people to bring it to fruition," Bilak notes on the Typotheque website. In addition to contextual information, faces from international alphabets, HERE includes a piece by Indian poet Tishani Doshi, "written to correspond to the specific word count of the book.
"Tishani embraced the given constraints and wrote the poem to an exact word count—one word for each page—an impressive feat, considering how naturally the poem reads," Bilak writes. "Our linguist friends Benjamin Yang and David Kamholz defined and sorted the languages based on the number of native speakers, and Susana [Carvalho] and Kai [Bernau] then devised a community-based system for the translation process, translating each word of the poem into hundreds of different languages."
HERE revels in cultural diversity, as well as a presentation of diverse and eclectic typefaces, current and forthcoming, in Typotheque's 1,000-font library. Each script comes with a full-page introduction about its origins, researched and written by Karthik Malli from Bangalore, who specializes in history and languages. HERE is available here for €18. An 80% educational discount is also available for the purchase of 10 or more copies.