A couple of weeks ago the announcement of 8 Faces took the design world by storm. It is a limited edition magazine about typography and design. For the first issue a thousand copies was sold out in 2 hours. It also caught the interest of The Independent, New Statesman, Typedia, Needs/Wants, and PSFK. I was one of the lucky ones to get my hands on a copy.
My first impression, holding the magazine in my hands — a bit smaller than I thought— 21X21cm to be exact. I think the sneak peek from the PDF, viewed from view port to view port on a relatively big monitor, put me under the wrong impression. To justify the excellent overall design and layout I had more along the lines of 25X25cm in mind.
Besides size and the excellent overall design and layout, I love the attention to detail. I received the magazine in decent packaging to avoid any damage in the post with a little 8 Faces sticker on the outside front. It is printed on a heavy uncoated stock. As a huge fan of print finishes, the silver foil blocked title is the cherry on the cake! Oh, last but not least, included is a bookmark (a MOO card) to say ‘thank you for the purchase’. Even though it is the digital age and a lot of people think print is dying, clearly there was a gap in the market for a venture like this.
The concept is an interview with eight leading designers from the fields of web design, print design, illustration and type design. Each interview end with the answer to the question; If you could use just eight typefaces for the rest of your life, which would you choose? The first issue feature interviews with designers Erik Spiekermann, Jessica Hische, Ian Coyle, Jason Santa Maria, Jos Buivenga, Jon Tan and Bruce Willen & Nolen Strals and The League of Movable Type. I guess, not strangely enough, the type designers choose mostly their own fonts.
The editor also hits it on the nail with the articles and interviewees. It ties in well with a few lines out of Jason Santa Maria‘s interview:
What matters is the story that we’re telling: the content. And the design of that content is there to reinforce it – it’s there to help tell that story.
All in all 8 Faces #1, with Loreena McKennitt in the background, completed my Saturday afternoon. It is a great read on great designers touching topics such as lettering, typography and typography on the web today.
On the printing side of things
I read Elliot Jay Stock’s blog post On publishing. He talks about the production process of the magazine, different printing processes and how he decided to go with the digital print option.
For a print run of a thousand copies or higher, I am definitely a fan of lithographic printing. Some of the known issues with digital printing are the dot size, especially when it comes to printing a shade of a colour. Even more so, with gray shapes that is made up of a percentage of black ink only. Even though the quality of digital printers has improved a lot over the last years, lithographic printers are still ahead of the game when it comes to quality. The dot pattern of lithographic printing are a lot finer. This is noticeable in the gray text and lines in the magazine.
The advantage though with this issue printed digitally, was to dynamically number each copy. Even though I am more of a litho printed gray dot fan, for a digital printed magazine it is made really well. Another issue with printing digital is getting the registration spot on. The design of the magazine has a thick stroke that runs horizontal across the page through out the magazine. And through out the magazine it matches up perfectly, including from one spread to another.
From a print point of view it would be interesting the compare the first digital printed issue with the second lithographic printed issue. From an overall magazine point of view, I am looking forward to read the next issue!