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How does a font administrator achieve font management success by avoiding common mistakes?

font management

It’s amazing to me that I still see companies using fonts illegally for published content. Many are often paranoid about license infringement for all of their other software, but forget that fonts are licensed in a similar way. Here are my top five “don’ts” that every Font Administrator should consider when managing fonts. I hope this gets your wheels turning in the right direction towards font compliance:

1. Don’t: assume all fonts in use at your company today are properly licensed.

Many companies continue to use fonts that have been around for decades, but their licenses and current usage haven’t been verified in recent years.

Recommended: Don’t turn a blind eye to fonts in use today. Take the time needed to organize your list by foundry. Also, isolate and inquire about each font. Locate the purchase paperwork when possible and when not possible, re-purchase or replace the fonts you can’t find licensing for. Also, critically review all of your free fonts and confirm there aren’t special requirements necessary for commercial use. Run an audit at least once a year to make sure you are as compliant as you can be.

2. Don’t: believe you can use your fonts any way you want.

Most fonts have specific Terms and Conditions and clearly define how they can be used in the end user license agreement (EULA). For example, embedding your fonts in PDFs, ePub documents, or websites may require special licenses. Distributing fonts to freelancers and printers is usually prohibited or requires a special license.

Recommended: Be diligent. Read your font EULAs carefully and contact the foundry if you are uncertain of the Terms and Conditions prior to publishing with a font. Remember, this pertains to the license agreements for free fonts as well.

What is the risk? Determine your organization’s level of font risk by downloading the font management risk assessment tool.

3. Don’t: forget to increase your company’s font licensing IQ when managing fonts.

In a recent survey conducted by Extensis, over 80% of designers admitted they do not read Font License Agreements. 78% of those who said they do are confused by the language.

Recommended: It’s your job to make sure your users understand the rules when using fonts within your organization. Frequent reminders and a solid business process can save your company costly and embarrassing infringement lawsuits. It’s critical to come up with a simple, yet non-disruptive process and make it stick as part of your font purchasing workflow.

4. Don’t: permit unauthorized sharing of your fonts.

Designers will often collaborate and enjoy sharing their creative ideas. Sometimes they’ll go as far as to share fonts too. Don’t let them. Now, we realize your parents taught you to always share, but sharing fonts within your own company is often as illegal as if you shared them with external companies. That’s because many font licenses are restricted by geographical location, department or even to a specific set of machines. Remind your employees of the possible consequences to your company and themselves if they share fonts without authorization.

5. Don’t: allow users to purchase fonts on their own credit cards.

You’d be surprised by how many companies still allow this, but I can assure you it is a recipe for disaster and a license tracking nightmare. Also, these purchases tend to be licensed to the individual and not the company.

Recommended: Instead establish a simple purchasing process to guarantee your company’s name is attached to every license purchased and ensure the purchase receipts and EULA end up in your possession. Convert them to PDFs and keep them electronically filed for future purchase verification.

Put your organization to the test! Download our font management risk assessment tool and see if your team is on the right font compliance track. 


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Because software upgrades can be disruptive to a Production environment I’m frequently asked which best practices a company should employ when upgrading Universal Type Server.

Here are ten basic ideas to help guide you through the upgrade process.  Please feel free to share your own tips with us or any others I may have forgotten to mention.

  1. Forward with a Backup – starting your upgrade out with a way to quickly restore your environment in the event of unforeseen problems is always the best way to lower your stress level. Backup first, always.
  2. Keeping up with the Joneses – Often customers jump into the latest operating systems or other application updates before ensuring their software and plugins are compatible. Compatibility information is generally available on the Extensis website so be sure to look before taking the update plunge.
  3. Testing, is this thing on? – Whenever possible, we recommend you review upgrades in a “testing” environment before upgrading your Production environment. This helps you identify and deal with unexpected issues without bringing your business to a halt.
    Did you know? The Extensis software agreement enables you to use your licenses on a separate testing environment at no additional cost. So setup a test environment to ensure everything works as expected.
  4. Keeping up with the times – We realize that it’s very challenging to stay on top of the latest versions of all your software. But just like the rest of the technology world, critical changes occur every day so if you don’t stick to a regular upgrade schedule you’ll fall behind.
    If you want to be certain Universal Type Server upgrades go smoothly, we recommend you lag no more than one full version behind.
    For example, Universal Type Server is currently at version 6.x so if you are running Universal Type Server 4 or older it’s time to get updated. When it comes to databases, upgrading from two (or more) versions back to the current version may not be directly compatible. Upgrading may require extra steps to to ensure you’re current. Staying updated will save you time and energy in the long run.
  5. One step at a time – Remember it’s much easier to ensure a successful upgrade when you use a stepped approach. Complete one installation at a time then validate its results.
    For example, if you need to upgrade systems to Mac OS X, Adobe Creative Cloud and Universal Type Client all at the same time take it slow and implement one change at a time. If you don’t, how will you know where a problem lies when things don’t go as expected? I can assert you will not know and neither will our technical support team.
  6. Server upgrades first – In the Universal Type Server world, client versions are often optimized for their intended servers. Therefore, it’s best practice to upgrade your Server before the clients. This ensures any new database schema updates get handled before connecting new client versions.
  7. In-Place upgrades (over a restore) – Universal Type Server offers two upgrade options. We recommend performing an in-place upgrade over a backup restoration (whenever possible).
    In-place upgrades ensure your current server data is updated quickly and users have the least disruptive experience. Remember as a safety net, run best practice step #1 before doing an in-place upgrade.
  8. Stagger client upgrades – It’s often recommended larger organizations upgrade their client versions in smaller chunks. Doing so minimizes the first-time work Universal Type Server is required to perform when syncing newly connected clients. Many of our customers will schedule client updates by office location, floor, department, or publication so their users have advance notice. Also if an unexpected issue occurs, the number of affected users is manageable.
  9. Contact us, really – Many customers don’t think to reach out to us before they upgrade until something goes haywire. Next time, email or call us first. You’d be surprised how much useful information we can share before you begin.
  10. Finally, do not contaminate the crime scene – In the rare event you encounter an issue, requiring support assistance, please do not make additional changes until we can gather the information needed. Often times we are unable to resolve the issue quickly because important application files, databases and logs are no longer available.

I hope this article was helpful for you. On behalf of the Universal Type Server Team, thanks for being our customer and good luck with your next upgrade.

Feel free to reach out and let me know which other topics you’d like for us to write about.

FREE Guide: Server-Based Font Management Best Practices Guide


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In today’s digital world, there are many options for publishing content to your audiences. While print still remains the traditional method, the onslaught of digital devices such as computers, tablets and smart phones have become the new means for delivering our reading material. Publishers are challenged now more than ever not only to distribute across all of these new mediums but also to re-purpose their content to fit each format. In addition, as work forces are downsized and less people do the work, companies must find creative ways to automate their processes and meet aggressive publishing schedules.

To overcome these challenges, many publishers have turned to implementing some type of publishing platform to assist with automation and to establish a cohesive workflow. When considering workflow automation, publishers must identify repetitious tasks in their workflow, remove unnecessary human intervention and still maintain output quality.

 

Discover Extensis Font Compliance in Publishing Best Practices Guide. A free guide for mitigating your font risk.

 

Publishing Platform Considerations

While there are many publishing platforms available today, finding a single system to do it all is either impossible or expensive. Systems containing too many “features” tend to lack quality outside of the developer’s core competencies. Publishing platforms providing only asset management components like image and document controls are incomplete. None manage font assets. This has led many publishers to piece together multiple systems making their environments more modular and manageable. By including various plugin modules and other inter-system connectors they can tie all of the pieces together as needed.

An integral part of the publishing workflow is font processing for output delivery. Today’s publishing platforms do not handle critical font processing needs. Those platforms have substandard system-level font activation and force every available font to be loaded onto the publisher’s systems at once. Unfortunately, there is a high probability some fonts will conflict with others, be missing or slow the system down causing output jobs to fail and halting the entire publishing process. So it’s important that font processing is treated like any other critical step in the publishing workflow.

For this reason, Extensis is leading the way to make the font management process in publishing workflows seamless and efficient. Extensis has updated Universal Type Server with an add-on module, FontLink to handle font processing issues publishers face during the final stage of a file’s output. The FontLink Module parses each file and acquires the exact fonts used. The correct font must accompany a file in order for the output to render correctly. When fonts are substituted or missing, the file output process can’t be completed. Extensis  solves this by using its patented Font Sense font identification technology. Publishers are guaranteed the correct fonts will accompany each output job so it renders flawlessly.

Extensis recently partnered with two of the world’s most experienced publishing platform providers to bring font management to the best end-to-end automated publishing platforms available. By connecting Universal Type Server’s FontLink Module to vjoon K4 and Typefi publishing platforms, publishers are now assured fonts used in every file are properly identified and made ready prior to output. Regardless of whether a file is being processed for print, web or digital output, the fonts are delivered on demand before the job gets to the output device making for zero conflicts – no missing fonts – no stopping the presses!

 

For more information about our managed font platform:
http://www.extensis.com/font-management/universal-type-server/fontlink/

 

Stay tuned in the upcoming months while Extensis builds new integrations and welcomes new partners into our Industry Network. http://www.extensis.com/company/partner/our-industry-network/

 

If you are a Publishing Platform Provider or Publisher and would like to consider partnering with us please reach out and let us know. Contact me here: cmeyer@extensis.com

Font Compliance in Publishing Free Guide


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Extensis and Typefi team up

Today we’re pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with Typefi, a leading provider of single-source automated software for print, online and mobile publishing to streamline font management in automated publishing.

We will be integrating Universal Type Server’s FontLink module with Typefi’s end-to-end publishing platform, to increase efficiencies for customers and eliminate font issues that can derail the automated process in publishing workflows.

Download our Font Compliance in Publishing Guide and learn best practices for purchasing, distributing and tracking fonts

One of the key challenges in the automated publishing process arises at the preproduction stage. This is where publishers want to publish their final content without errors regardless if it is for digital or print. It’s at this point things can go sideways because the fonts are not available in the system. Currently, customers need to load up every font they may ever need to ensure the output looks as desired. Doing this can overload the machine and the process fail when duplicate fonts are found.

Typefi and Extensis share the mission of making creative and publishing workflow seamless and efficient, so we’ve partnered to remove the font challenges while automating the workflow from beginning to end.

How you ask? By injecting FontLink at the backend of the production assembly line, customers will have an on-demand system to get the fonts required for each document during output processing. FontLink in conjunction with Universal Type Server ensures there are no missing, incorrect or substituted fonts, and will only deliver exact matches for each document along that production path.

Whether the output is a PDF, or an InDesign document, whether it be print or EPub the final piece of output contains all of the fonts used without variations or substitutions.

Extensis is really excited to partner with Typefi to bring this end-to-end integrated solution to the marketplace.

To learn more about Typefi, click here.

And you can find more information about Universal Type Server and FontLink here.