Organizing and Managing tons of fonts

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Korhan Safa Eser's picture
Joined: 11 Oct 2011 - 8:25am
Organizing and Managing tons of fonts
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Hello,

I've started to work in a new medium-sized design studio. When I came here all of the 4 designers before me had a few font collections based on a same collection. I mean they were given a font folder and then they added their own font's later. When I came to here I had to copy all the folders and merge them into one (because I was given a new computer) And when I check the fonts it the file it just looks like a disaster! postscripts, opentypes, truetypes they are all mixed up! Since I was a mac user I was prefer to choose OpenType when buying one. And also because of that I never intended to learn what was the technical difference. But now I got tons of unorganized mixed pile of fonts to use but I'm always uncortable when something important like this kept unorganized. so here are my questions;

- First of all what is the best font manager program? Suitcase Fusion 3 or Fontexplorer X ? The studio have both licenses so the I can choose between those two. Or if you can advice a better one I can buy it for myself.

- Will there be any corruption (in kerns or anything) if I convert all the fonts to opentype with a software Font XChange?

- Most of the fonts in the collection is weirdly ungrouped in the management programs. I mean for example Bell Gothic has 3 families for bold regular and roman. And inside them their italic and regular format. But I mean come on, they're all Bell Gothic why are they separate families? What could have happened to the fonts? And how can I rearrange them in to same family tree like they supposed to be.

Thanks for sparing time. Oh btw english is not my naive language, excuse me if I've made grammar mistakes :(

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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Sounds like a case of pirated fonts.

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
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Hanlon's Razor.

Blank's picture
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Joined: 25 Sep 2006 - 2:15pm
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Will there be any corruption (in kerns or anything) if I convert all the fonts to opentype with a software Font XChange?

The font names within families will get screwed up and every font will be its own family. Your kerning will probably be ok if you actually have good kerning files for the Postscript fonts to begin with. And the Truetype fonts should be left alone.

Sounds like a case of pirated fonts.

My thoughts exactly. Start by cutting the entire firm down to the fonts the business has receipts for and delete everything else. Synchronize everyone on one small set of legit fonts, buy more as needed, and manage all fonts from one server instead of spreading them around.

If you don’t nail this down now it will bite you on the ass later. Either a big job will get screwed up because of problems with the crazy font collection or somebody will notice an unlicensed font in a job and you or your client will get a bill, or worse, served with legal papers.

Bert Vanderveen's picture
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Joined: 13 Jun 2004 - 8:19am
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I would heap all those fonts into one folder (preferably on a separate standalone disk-dribe) and when a job comes around where you need a font, search that for the best option (pref a late version OT, Pro or Extended) and copy that to your workstation. That will also give you occasion to check whether it is a legally acquired font.

To make things easier you could make in inventory of all the stuff you have in the form of an automatically made specimen book. There is s/w to help you do that.

Do NOT do your own conversions to OT. Lots of problems in practice, eg missing euro-signs, etc.

Korhan Safa Eser's picture
Joined: 11 Oct 2011 - 8:25am
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Sounds like a case of pirated fonts.

I've asked around and some of them are like you guys said were pirated -_- And most of the others were got corrupted when they were localizing or something else. I actually stopped listening when I've heard they someone was fiddling with the original fonts. I'll have a talk with the studio director to legalize fonts. I prefer not to work rather then designing with pirated stuff.

Thanks everyone!

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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There is A LOT to learn from working with only a few carefully selected fonts, as opposed to the usual scrolling-through-font-list-design. Get familiar with the historical classifications, what ideas informed the type designer and why a particular face works better in a particular situation, and you’ll start understanding what exactly you should look for when that next project needs 6 pt. text typeset on uncoated paper printed on an outdated laserjet from the late eighties. Furthermore, you’ll start designing — not just copying the latest trend.

(That last part is not necessarily intended for you :)

carl's picture
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Joined: 28 Oct 2005 - 4:37pm
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frode frank said it better than I could. I wouldn't worry about what font manager to use too much, or even if you need one. Personally, I use Suitcase Fusion 3 and keep a couple different Libraries. A 'Library' in that app is like switching to a completely different set of preferences. So, I have a 'Junk' library with unlicensed/dodgy fonts that I might occasionally refer back to to handle old projects or something. This is a giant list of fonts--unusable for commercial design work. I also have a 'Production' library, which is the fonts I'm likely to use on a day-to-day basis. Its still more fonts than I want active all the time, and I like Suitcase's features for organizing them.

Disclaimer: I don't work for Extensis, but I used to.

Korhan Safa Eser's picture
Joined: 11 Oct 2011 - 8:25am
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oh wow, frode frank. you just sounded like one of my great mentor/teacher. I never got the chance -I mean guts- to ask something like this to her before. I think I'll ask this detail to you; are there any specific typeface's that I can exercise designing? I always hated scrolling a huge font list back in the school.

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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are there any specific typeface's that I can exercise designing?

I'm not sure ir I understand what you mean.

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
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My guess: A short list of faces for design exercises.

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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One option is to start with a modern take on the main historical classifications:

• A venetian or old style/humanist serif: Arno Pro by Robert Slimbach
• A transitional serif: Whitman by Kent Lew
• A didone/modern serif: Ingeborg by Typejockeys

• A humanist sans: Fresco Sans by Fred Smeijers
• A geometric sans: Superla by Herr Karl-Heinz Lange
• A grotesque sans: Theinhardt by François Rappo

• A humanist slab: Charlie by Ross Milne
• A geometric slab: Memphis by Rudolf Wolf
• A grotesque slab or Clarendon: Serifa by Adrian Frutiger

Now you gotta connect the dots.