Font Management — Best Practices

Studio Gestalt's picture

Can anyone advise as to a "best practices" when managing the fonts on one's system?
I am going bonkers these days trying to manage all my typefaces. I use Linotype's Font Explorer, but it doesnt seem to do the job or i am doing something wrong. Of particular frustration is when running into multiple versions of one typeface (i.e. Futura — I have cuts from several different foundries and have to use them on different jobs, so i cant just trash the others— i turn them on and off as needed). And secondly, is there an alternative to Font Explorer? Do any of these Font Management Systems really beat all the others? Or are they all just the same? Which one is truly the BEST? Surely someone on Typophile can answer this?

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Which kind of system are we talking about?

Bert Vanderveen's picture

It’s a matter of taste — I for one used MasterJuggler (and it’s forebears and newer Pro-version) around 12 years, before I switched to FontAgentPro (on account of switching to OS X), which has been exemplary in daily use.

Best practices always starts out by weeding out the bad apples amongst your font files, which can be quite a task, but is imperative.

ben_archer's picture

For many years I would always start every new system software upgrade (Mac System 6x onwards) by stripping out the contents of the System Font folder down to the bare minimum – those fonts required by the system only – and managing the font libraries elsewhere on the hard drive with a third-party solution like Suitcase or MasterJuggler. The ability to create font sets grouped and named for specific accounts/clients/jobs was a huge boost to productivity everywhere.

After Mac OS X, things got more complicated, and Extensis, makers of Suitcase Fusion, produced a .pdf booklet called Font Management in OS X Best Practices Guide. It's recommended reading. I have a 5th edition which dates from 2009, but I suspect you can find it on their site still.

For the last couple of years I have been using Fontcase which is just great – very affordable, with a slick interface and pretty robust.

gargoyle's picture

Here's a link to the current version of the Extensis PDF Ben mentioned, now in its 7th Edition: Best Practices for Managing Fonts in Mac OS X

Another useful and up-to-date guide is Kurt Lang's Font Management in OS X

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