About Jim Kidwell

As a writer, speaker and general software nerd, Jim Kidwell evangelizes the effective integration of fonts and digital asset management in creative workflows. Focusing on how effective management can affect all levels of an organization - from the legal, creative and branding standpoints - Jim has shared his unique perspective with audiences at SXSW, Future of Web Design, WebVisions and more. You can reach Jim on: Google+

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We published this article last year and it was hit. So, we thought we would publish this article again as a refresher. Enjoy!

Learn how to get free fonts via Google Fonts

As designers, we all love having a wide selection of tools to get the job done. My obsession, and probably yours as well, is fonts.

Whether you’re just starting out as a designer, or have been in the industry for years, tapping into a new source of fonts is desirable, and when that source of fonts is FREE, well, hey, it’s almost a requirement! And this is where our hero, Google Fonts steps through the door.

Originally conceived as a fast and easy way to use new and interesting fonts on the web, the fonts are all open-source and available for download and use on your desktop.

Want to download all of the Google Fonts quickly and automatically as they are added? Suitcase Fusion can do that. With the connection enabled, all of the current Google Fonts are always, automatically downloaded to your machine.

To enable the Google Fonts connection in Suitcase Fusion:

  1. Launch Suitcase Fusion
  2. Choose File > Enable Google Fonts
  3. A new Google Fonts library is added and the font collection is automatically synched to your machine. The fonts can be activated and deactivated like any other font.
  4. At any time, you can check for new Google Fonts. To do so choose File > Synchronize Fonts. 

Google Fonts & Suitcase Fusion

 

Want to know more about which typefaces are currently the “most loved” or “most hated” by experts in the design industry? Check out our Type Trends Survey Report. You’ll see what’s hot and what’s not in the world of typography.

Type Trends Report Survey Results


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fonts like Helvetica

Helvetica is one of the world’s most recognizable typefaces. Originally named Neue Haas Grotesk, Helvetica was created in 1957 by designer Max Miedinger with input from Eduard Hoffman (its name was changed 4 years later when it was licensed by Linotype). Helvetica quickly rose to prominence because of its legibility and versatility. 50 years later, it’s still going strong. In 2007, Gary Hustwit released a critically-acclaimed feature-length documentary (called “Helvetica”) about its impact and influence on the world of design.

What’s hot and what’s not in the world of typography? Our Type Trends Survey Report will tell you just that. Download the report and learn the latest trends.

But familiarity often breeds contempt.

Erik Spiekermann said “People use Helvetica because it’s ubiquitous. It’s like going to McDonalds instead of thinking about food.”

Wolfgang Weingart went a step further: “Anyone who uses Helvetica knows nothing about typefaces.”

Other well-known designers were not quite as harsh.

Steff Geissbuhler called Helvetica “still the most versatile, classic, and readable of all typefaces.”

And Hamish Muir joked that “We hate to like Helvetica.”

So…if you’re a designer, you might be looking for fonts like Helvetica that aren’t so overused. Good news! Our friends at Identifont, Fontspring, Typewolf, and MyFonts recommended several similar grotesk sans-serif typefaces that we’ve assembled here to help you broaden your design pallette:

Nimbus Sans

Created by the URW++ foundry in 1995 as an alternative to Helvetica, Nimbus Sans serves as an effective Helvetica doppelgänger.

Identifont did a side-by-side comparison of the two. Have a look for yourself!

Fonts Like Helvetica: Nimbus Sans

Fonts Like Helvetica: Nimbus Sans

Pragmatica

Inspired by Helvetica, Pragmatica was designed at ParaType (ParaGraph) in 1989 by Vladimir Yefimov (later styles were developed by Olga Chaeva, Alexander Tarbeev, and Manvel Shmavonyan with participation from Dmitry Kirsanov).

Again, practically identical to Helvetica and Nimbus Sans.

Fonts Like Helvetica: Pragmatica

Fonts Like Helvetica: Pragmatica

Volkart

Designed by Jeremie Hornus, Volkart is a Latin-script typeface that was published by Indian Type Foundry in 2015.

Fonts Like Helvetica: Volkart

Fonts Like Helvetica: Volkart

Looking for some options that aren’t so close to the vest? Extensis wrote this great piece about Helvetica alternatives that feel “modern, classic, and universal” without being quite so similar.

Helvetica alternative recommendations:

Stag Sans (Commercial Type)

Open Sans (Google Fonts)

Avenir (Linotype)

Theinhardt (Optimo)

Proxima Nova (Mark Simonson)

Effra (Jonas Schudel)

Aktiv Grotesk (Bruno Maag)

Brown (Lineto)

LFT Etica (TypeTogether)

Franklin Gothic URW T (URW++)

News Gothic  (Bitstream)

So there you have it—several typefaces that are remarkably similar to Helvetica and a few that deviate a bit but still serve the same purpose.

Want to know more about which typefaces are currently the “most loved” or “most hated” by experts in the design industry? Check out our Type Trends Survey Report. You’ll see what’s hot and what’s not in the world of typography.
 
Type Trends Report Survey Results


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“Does Ob stand for Oblique?” You’ll find out as we crack the code to this and other font abbreviation mysteries.

font management

A while back, we came up with a list of font name abbreviations. We’ve decided to provide that list again! Here are a few abbreviations that many of you may need help deciphering:

Kinds of Font Abbreviations

Font Abbreviations mostly fall in several common categories:

Foundry name: usually in the form of one or two letters at the beginning or end of the name (LT, MT, A, BT, FB, URW). “Foundries” are the companies that create fonts, a term going back to the days of metal type.

Language designation: comes at the end of a name (Cyr, Grk, CE). Generally this only applies to older fonts where a separate font was issued for different languages. In most cases, newer fonts put all the languages in a single font.

Font size as intended in print: (Text, Display, Poster/Caption, Small Text, Regular, Subhead, Display).

Read up on optical size for more on this concept. Note that this is usually a print-focused designation; if one is using print fonts for screen/web, using fonts designed for smaller sizes in print at somewhat bigger sizes on screen is often a good idea. A “caption” font might be great for body text on screen.

Download the complete list of font abbreviations here.

Extremely light and extremely heavy weights are generally only useful at very large sizes. The full names for some common weights, in approximate increasing order: Hairline, UltraThin, UltraLight, Thin, ExtraLight, Light, Regular, Book, Medium, Semibold or Demibold, Bold, ExtraBold, Heavy, Black, ExtraBlack, UltraBold or Ultra.

  • A: Adobe, the type foundry and software company based in California.
  • A2: Not an abbreviation. A foundry based in London.
  • AEF: Altered Ego Fonts Foundry
  • Bd: Bold
  • Bk: Book. A designation of weight close to “regular” which may exist in place of regular, or be slightly lighter or heavier, depending on the foundry’s preferences.
  • Bl, Blk: Black. A very bold weight, beyond Extra Bold
  • Com: Communication. Linotype’s name for fonts aimed at corporate customers, which are TrueType flavored OpenType fonts that have a specific extended character set (close to Western + CE, actually “LEEC”) and generally lack extensive OpenType alternate glyphs.
  • Dm, Demi: Demibold, a weight in between regular and bold.
  • IHOF: International House of Fonts. A distribution imprint of the P22 foundry.
  • LT: Linotype. A large foundry dating back to the 19th century (but see also Lt), later acquired by Monotype.
  • Lt: Light. A font with strokes a bit thinner than usual. (But see also LT)
  • LTC: Lanston Type Co. Originally the US counterpart of Monotype a century ago, recently acquired by P22.
  • M, Mono: Monospaced. A typewriter-like font in which all the characters have the same width. “M” by itself is URW’s abbreviation.
  • MT: Monotype. A large foundry dating back to the 19th century.
  • Ob, Obl: Oblique. A slanted counterpart to an upright font. Oblique differs from italic in that the design is essentially unchanged. In many cases there has not even been any compensation for the unpleasant optical effects caused by mechanical/mathematical slanting. Generally a real italic font is preferable. In most applications, hitting an “italic” button on a font that has no italic style available results in a particularly gruesome OS-improvised oblique, at about double the angle of typical designed obliques or italics.
  • URW, URW++: A foundry. No longer an abbreviation, as they no longer use their original full name at all (Unternehmensberatung Rubow Weber is a bit of a mouthful!). The original URW (1972) went bankrupt, and was revived as URW++ in 1995. The name is a play on the name of the programming language C++, a sequel to C.

Wait! There’s more. Check out our Abbreviations in Font Names – The Definitive Guide. You’ll get a comprehensive list of font abbreviations and acronyms to help you get on your way to font management success.

Or if you have a few minutes, read our previous post on finding fonts. We detail some great resources on finding the best fonts for a variety of applications.


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How do you improve font management with your new MacBook?

Mac OS Font Management Best PracticesYou’ve got that snazzy new MacBook on your desk. You’ve figured out how to use the new Touch Bar, and are now ready to get that machine primed and ready for you to be productive.

I recommend that you take a moment to look at how your fonts are handled on your machine. Where they’re stored, how many are kept active, and how best to manage them.

To help you get started, we’ve created a Font Management Best Practices Guide that is specifically focused on macOS. We recently updated this guide to cover multiple versions of macOS, including Sierra v10.12.

This free guide will help you make the most of that machine, and keep it from being bogged-down with unnecessary font clutter.

Download the Guide


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futuretech
 

Explore how technology is evolving to enable a business to successfully manage its fonts and digital assets.

Today’s work environment forces creative workflows to constantly adapt to fluctuating user needs and take advantage of new technologies. Add the ongoing need to increase the speed of production, and you have a situation that can be difficult to navigate as a creative or an IT team supporting creative departments.

We’ve pulled together a full-day event with industry experts who will help you get up to speed quickly and prepare for the future of tech.

Featured presenters and topics include:

Clarifai: Image Recognition for Automated Keywording
Extensis: Font Management and Digital Asset Management
FADEL: Rights Clearance for Your Digital Files
The Martinez Group PLLC: Intellectual Property Law
SANDOW: Publisher & Brand Manager

This full-day free event is broken into morning and afternoon sessions, and includes lunch.

In the morning we focus on font management, and in the afternoon turn to developments in digital asset management.

  • Thursday, March 2, 2017
  • 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – join us for all or part of the day
  • 3 West Club, NYC
  • Includes hosted lunch

We will also be offering pre-release looks at Extensis software and 1-on-1 time with our engineers to get any detailed questions answered.

Come for all or part of the day – we’d be happy to have you!

Learn more and register here for this exciting event.

 


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Got font management needs? We’ve got answers.

SF3-FontGenius-Bundle-LP-FGWant to learn more about all of the font management applications that we carry? Here’s your chance to see them in action.

Join us for a detailed webcast where we will go through how you can use FontGenius, FontDoctor, Suitcase Fusion and Suitcase TeamSync to help speed your workflow.

You’ll learn:

  • How to identify unknown fonts
  • How to protect your fonts from corruption
  • Effective font organization, activation and usage efficiencies
  • Techniques for font sharing across multiple machines

If you register but can not attend, a recording will be emailed to you.

Register for the Webcast


Is Typekit a Font Manager?

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tkTypekit is a great service that Adobe provides for their creative cloud subscribers. It allows you to do two main things:

  1. Use a wide variety of fonts in the Typekit collection for text on websites
  2. Synchronize some of those fonts from Typekit for use with your desktop apps

Font managers like Suitcase Fusion and Universal Type Server are designed to manage your own collection of licensed fonts. They take your entire valuable collection of fonts and put them into a central location that is easily accessible by you and your team.

Typekit does not manage fonts that you have licensed or downloaded from locations other than Typekit.

There are spots where you may hear the term “font manager” in relation to Typekit. The Adobe documentation for Typekit does at times refer to the web tool that controls the download of fonts to your desktop as a “font manager.” This web tools only manages fonts in the sense that it pushes fonts from the Typekit database down to your machine, that is all.

When those Typekit fonts are available on your desktop, Suitcase Fusion and other professional font management tools automatically detect the downloaded fonts and make them available for use.

sf7-ss-typekit-en-full

Because the average designer has over 4,000 fonts in her collection, keeping all of those fonts available for use, while not necessarily active on the system is critical for speedy, error-free design work.

If you are interested in testing a professional font manager in your workflow, all Extensis font managers are available for use in free 30-day trials.


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As initially reported by TMZ, recording artist Cher has landed into some legal troubles for the type design used on the cover of her 2013 album Closer to the Truth.

Type designer Moshik Nadev created his work Paris Logo back in 2011 and claims that the design used on her album cover is a rip-off of his. They do seem to be quite similar, it’s pretty plain to see.

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-1-16-17-pm

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-1-16-07-pm

Now, does this warrant a $5 million dollar lawsuit? That’s an interesting question.

While I’m not a lawyer, from what I understand, typefaces themselves can’t be copyrighted, but the software used to deliver then can.

So, did the person who drew Cher’s logo draw everything for themselves? Or did they take the “shortcut” and digitally copy Nadev’s work?

Most of us know that you can’t copy, share or rename a font file and sell it as your own. Maybe this type of use falls into a gray area. It depends upon how the final artwork was created.

Designers are apt to be inspired by each other, and have even been told to “stealat times.

Of course, I would not recommend that you pirate, steal or illegally download any creative work that you don’t have rights to use. As creative professionals, we do ourselves a disservice if we choose to ignore the right that others have to fair compensation for their creative work.

If you need help keeping your team on the legal straight and narrow when it comes to fonts, take a moment to check out Universal Type Server. It’s built from the ground up to help you manage font distribution and keep your team’s legal worries at bay.

Note: This story was also reported by The Daily Mail and International Business Times.


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uts-blogads-linkedin-overviewwebcast-630x200

Is your team frequently slowed down by font issues?

When used properly, a font server can help your team stay on task and productive.

Join me for a live demo and complete overview of Universal Type Server.

  • Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2016
  • Time: 11:00 a.m. Pacific; 2:00 p.m. Eastern

I will show you:

  • How Universal Type Server meets your team’s font management needs
  • How to install and configure Universal Type Server
  • How to manage users and fonts
  • How to track your team’s font licensing
  • Best strategies for font organization

Register for the webcast.


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suitcase-fusion-7-iconI recently gave a webcast about font management fundamentals. We had hundreds of people attend, and I got far more questions than I had time to answer during the webcast.

I got a variety of questions about Extensis font managers, and I thought that I’d take a minute to answer some of the specific questions that I got at this webcast that I didn’t have a chance to answer.

If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to enter them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!

 

Do I need to separately install my fonts if I’m using a font manager?

The basic function of any font manager is the management of fonts outside of your system fonts folder (if it doesn’t do this, it isn’t a font manager). With Suitcase Fusion and other Extensis font managers, you only need to add your fonts to the product itself, and not mess with the system font locations.

A good font manager like Suitcase Fusion also allows you to deactivate or override fonts in your system folders, so you don’t even need to remove fonts that you’ve already placed in those locations if you don’t want to.

 

When are updates required and how do I get them?

The most important thing with software you use in your daily work is having it work consistently. Maintaining compatibility with your Operating System and associated professional design applications is critical. This is why we strive to keep our software compatible with the newest releases from Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Quark. We will have compatibility releases for our current products typically within days or weeks of updates from our partners.

To check whether your software is compatible, check the Suitcase Fusion product compatibility page for details.

 

How does Suitcase Fusion interact with Adobe Typekit?

Adobe Typekit is integrated into your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. This subscription allows you to download, or “sync,” fonts to your desktop from Typekit. Once synced to your machine, these fonts are automatically activated and available to your other applications.

Suitcase Fusion automatically detects when you’ve synced new fonts to your machine and displays them in a separate font library. You can preview, sort and search on these fonts like any other in Suitcase Fusion. You are not able to disable Typekit fonts with Suitcase Fusion. They are active until you choose to “unsync” them using the Typekit online interface.

 

What plug-ins are available and are there plans for additional application support?

Suitcase Fusion currently supports the major design applications from Adobe and Quark. Basically, Suitcase supports Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, InCopy, After Effects and QuarkXPress. For details about which versions of these apps are supported, see the compatibility page.

We continually monitor which applications are in use in the professional design community and actively track requests for plug-in based font activation. If you have an application that you’d like to request this type of support, please feel free to enter it in the comments below.

 

Why do I need to login to use Suitcase Fusion?

For Suitcase Fusion, we’ve done away with serial numbers and in their place, we’ve tied your version of Suitcase Fusion to our servers. This allows you to take advantage of the TypeSync technology for syncing your fonts between machines using our cloud technology. You also no longer need to enter cumbersome numbers to validate that you own the product. It’s all just tied to your account.

 

Support questions

If you are seeing something in your application that isn’t functioning as you expect, please don’t hesitate to contact our technical support team. It’s free and they’ve seen it all. If you do run into something new and unexpected, we are also better able to identify and fix the issue in an future update.

Contact the Extensis support team by either calling them directly:

  • North America: 800-796-9798, Option 3
  • Outside North America: +44 (0) 1604-654-270

Or if you’d rather not wait, login to your account and fill out this form and the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Ready to upgrade?

If you’re running without a font manager, or with an out of date old one, maybe it’s time to upgrade? Check out the current version of Suitcase Fusion. It’s a worthy upgrade.


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