Fonts, like rare stamps or coins, are fun to collect but easy to loose control of if you have lots of them. For both large and small publishers, font collections can easily run into the thousands. Carol DaSilva, IT business analyst at Rodale, outlines some fundamental, but critical, font management tips to bring an unruly collection back under control.
Monitor Incoming Fonts. DaSilva‚Äôs first tip is to get a utility that allows you to check incoming fonts. There are several inexpensive options in the $100 and under range. ‚ÄúIt can tell you if the font is damaged and can heal it, or at least warn you if it‚Äôs damaged,‚ÄĚ says DaSilva, who adds that in the case of Postscript fonts, which have two parts, the utility can quickly tell you if you have any incomplete sets. ‚Äú[In Apple‚Äôs OSX] you just see a list of names in a folder and it‚Äôs more difficult to tell if you have all your parts, especially if you received a bunch of fonts from somebody.‚ÄĚ Simply drag the font folder over the program icon and, typically, you‚Äôll see a checklist of what‚Äôs right and what‚Äôs wrong.
Manage Your Collection. ‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre not running font management software you likely have fonts in multiple places,‚ÄĚ says DaSilva. ‚ÄúOne of the biggest problems is having fonts of the same name from different manufacturers or different foundries.‚ÄĚ Rodale‚Äôs collection runs in the thousands, says DaSilva, and with that kind of mass it‚Äôs virtually impossible to keep them straight without a professional font management application. Server editions will run in the $1,500 range.
Keep ‚ÄėEm Separated. Exploring font libraries for the right type treatment for a particular article is all part of the spirit of design, says DaSilva. The more fonts you have the more flexibility you have. However, magazines live by strict brand rules. An overly enthusiastic designer can dilute a magazine‚Äôs brand integrity. ‚ÄúWe use a server-based font manager that allows us to control who has access to what font,‚ÄĚ says DaSilva. ‚ÄúEven for a smaller company that has to keep their different font sets separate from each other you can control what‚Äôs loaded on the Mac and prevent people from being able to use fonts that they‚Äôve just gotten from a friend or whatever. That‚Äôs how we stay legal on licensing and also make sure the correct [magazine] groups are using the correct versions of fonts.‚ÄĚ