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+

To Free Font Or Not?

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Top Three Ways to Build Your Team’s Font Collection

Earlier this year, I wrote an article titled “Top Places to Build Out Your Font Collection.” The article is relevant for graphic designers, as well as IT professionals, creative directors, and others in various organizations who want secure ways to build a font collection. Some fonts are marketed as “free fonts” or “open source fonts.” Do you know if these fonts are OK to use within your organization? Is purchasing fonts from a type foundry the only secure path to take? Find out in this way-back, blog reprise. Enjoy!

Typography experts estimate that there are more than 300,000 fonts in existence, and more emerging from designer’s workshops every day.

What font should my team use?

We explored MyFonts to get one example and a bit of a perspective on this number. The results blew us away. On that one site alone, you can find:

31,000 font families
4,000 individual type designers
2,000 professional font foundries*
*Numbers procured from this page.

…that’s quite a bit more than a drop down menu can hold. How many fonts are in your organization’s font collection? Is your team getting the most out of your library?

As the number of free fonts and type options ever-inflates, so does the time invested in curating your team’s collection. “Every good designer doesn’t use more than a few typefaces.” Have you heard this conviction from celebrated designer Massimo Vignelli? So, we suggest that before you skim through our list of hunting grounds for new, fun fonts, get a hold of your unruly tangle of fonts by exploring the Top Three Ways to Manage Your Team’s Font Collection including managing free fonts.

1. Free Fonts: Behance, Creative Market, Dribble & Google Fonts (Free Fonts? Wha?)
Some organizations might be apprehensive to use free fronts. However, these are some great places to see what creative people are experimenting with. You probably won’t find full-fledged font families, but you will find some fun display type. These free font sites could give your organization some new, fun, creative ideas and your designer a creative boost.

behance fonts

There is an extensive list of curated free font collections on Behance, each with juicy creations, new and old. With discoverable gems from an array of designers of all levels and geography, it’s an excellent place to find new ideas in type. Creative Market features over 7,000 fonts from independent creators and handpicks fonts for you based on your tastes. That’s a win-win. Also, if free is more of your price point, check out this Curated Collection of the 30 Best Google Fonts.

2. Type Libraries
One way to build your collection quickly is to license an entire library. There are many to choose from: Adobe, Ascender, Linotype.com, Bitstream, Monotype ITC, and many more offer up the option to license full libraries.

While it might not be a readily known fact, Monotype has steadily been purchasing many of the historical font libraries from around the globe. Monotype now owns Fonts.com, FontShop.com, Linotype.com, Monotype.com, MyFonts.com and more.

3. Independent Foundries
Independent type foundries, often operated by the type designers themselves, offer some real typographic gems. Typewolf brushed together a list of his 24 favorite independent type foundries after the Monotype-FontShop merger. It’s still highly relevant.
Some of the highlights include:
• The Midwesterner Mark Simonson that gifted the type world with Proxima Nova
exljbris Font Foundry that bequeathed upon us the highly appealing, highly practical Museo Slab.
Grilli Type, the Swiss foundry whose GT Walsheim booms at us with impressive authority
Dalton Maag, the foundry from the early 90s whose international savviness easily translates to sleek versatility
• Renound type designer Tobias Frere-Jones is also now selling fonts directly as well.
Skim though the image below for more shoutouts to greats like Lineto, Type Together, Type Trust, Hoefler & Co. and more.

font foundries

 

Admit it: after simply scrolling through this list, you’re ready to download a wave of new fonts to onto your computer. Before doing so, read our free Font Management Best Practices Guide. You’ll learn effective ways to manage your organization’s font collection, avoid font copyright lawsuits, and enable your team’s creativity.

Server-Based Font Management Best Practices Guide

Where are your favorite places to build and maintain your font collection? Tell us on Twitter @extensis.


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sfioswithmainui-ss-en-large-940pxDid you ever wonder why you weren’t able to manage fonts on your iOS devices (Apple iPhone and iPad) like you can with your Mac or Windows machine?

We asked the same question and that’s why we built the brand new Suitcase Fusion application for Apple iOS.

This application is free on the iTunes store, and connects your Suitcase Fusion font library to your iOS device.

So, whether you’re designing with one of the fancy new mobile design applications from Adobe, building and presenting Keynote and PowerPoint files, or just want to use your quality font collection on your iPad, you’re good to go.

It’s easy to use your font collection on iOS. To get started:

  1. Install Suitcase Fusion onto your Mac or PC.
  2. Load your fonts and sync your font library using TypeSync. Choose File > TypeSync > Enable Library Syncing.
  3. Install the Suitcase Fusion iOS app on your mobile device.
  4. Use Suitcase Fusion for iOS to activate your fonts!

Get Suitcase Fusion 7 and then download the iOS app from the App Store today.


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Instant font collection? Why thank you Google.

We love Google Fonts. They provide a big collection of open source fonts available for any use.

We’ve built a dynamic connection from Suitcase Fusion 7 to Google Fonts. This connection automatically downloads all of the Google Fonts, and keeps them up to date as new ones are added. Pretty nifty, eh?

Want to make the connection yourself? It’s easy to do.

Download a free 30-day trial of Suitcase Fusion 7.


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windows-server-2016Microsoft is expected to announce the final release of Windows Server 2016 at the Ignite conference in Atlanta.

We understand that many IT Admins are keenly interested to take advantage of the benefits this new OS. Here is the current support of our server products:

 

Universal Type Server

Universal Type Server version 6.1.1 has been tested and is compatible with Windows Server 2016.

NOTE:  The Standard and Datacenter Editions of Windows Server 2016 are the supported versions. Nano and Server Core versions may work but haven’t been tested. Please contact Extensis Technical Support with issues

 

Portfolio 2016

Portfolio 2016 version 2.5.3 has been tested and is compatible with Windows Server 2016.

NOTE:  The Standard and Datacenter Editions of Windows Server 2016 are the supported versions. Nano and Server Core versions may work but haven’t been tested. Please contact Extensis Technical Support with issues

 

Questions?

Please let us know if you have any specific questions or concerns about running Extensis products on Windows Server 2016.

You can place a comment below, or contact our Technical Support team at www.extensis.com/support


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Avoid font copyright lawsuits

It seems easy. Just download a font and use it, right? Well, not necessarily.

It is easy to quickly download a font and utilize it without giving the process much thought, but that’s the problem. Forgetting or not understanding user license agreements or utilizing fonts incorrectly can lead to font copyright lawsuits. Many organizations are at risk due to font misuse, but your organization doesn’t have to be one of them.

Here’s how to reduce your chances of getting sued:

1. License fonts for their appropriate usage

Using desktop fonts as web fonts without purchasing a proper web license can place you at risk. Even using some open-source fonts for commercial projects without purchasing an appropriate license can get you in trouble.

Reduce the risk

Your organization can reduce the risk by implementing font management software that tracks usage and keeps everyone in sync, but it is crucial that a font purchase policy is implemented, reviewed, and followed. If everyone knows the policy, they are less likely to make risky purchasers or use fonts incorrectly.

Learn more about implementing a successful font purchase policy by downloading our free Server-Based Font Management Best Practices Guide.

2. Understand font EULAs

EULA stands for End User License Agreement. You agree to this when licensing a font, but do you understand it? Fonts are licensed entities just like any software. When you install most software, you get a window that displays the EULA that you must agree to that covers the software. EULA’s aren’t exactly the easiest things to read so many designers don’t read them thoroughly or don’t read them at all. EULAs vary by foundry and can vary based on types of use that you’ve selected during the process. Do you want to use the font on the web? In a logo? Embedded into a mobile application? All of these uses are likely to incur extra costs and there may be specific language regarding usage in the EULA that was overlooked.

Reduce the risk

According to Exensis’s Font Compliance Survey, close to 80% of designers don’t regularly read EULAs. So, spending time reading the fine print is the first step to understanding how you can utilize your font purchases. Unfortunately, even after reading EULAs, 78% of designers are still confused about the EULA terms. If anything in the EULA is not clear, contact the foundry for clarification.

3. Transfer fonts properly

Once you have gone through the proper purchasing and licensing process, you need to understand if and how fonts can be moved around your office. How many users can install the fonts? Can they be transferred to a printer for output? Can they be installed on a web server? Etc.

Reduce the risk

Fonts purchased for use in the office should stay at the office. Your team may feel the need to explore new fonts while at home for business use. That being said, your team should always get appropriate licensing for corporate use before any new fonts are brought into your office.

4. Create Comps with Licensed Fonts

Approximately 32% of designers surveyed admitted to “locating” a copy of a font online for use in the comping process. It’s understandable that designers may not want to purchase a font before it is selected by a client for use.  Some type foundries are offering new options for users to test fonts in comps prior to purchase, but this varies by foundry and technology.

Reduce the risk

Setup a thorough examination process before new fonts are brought into your team’s workflow. You must understand what you can and can’t do, and protect yourself by limiting the exposure of fonts use pre-licensing for comps. A thorough font purchase process and implementation of a font server can help save your bacon.

5. Do not assume your team knows your licensing policies

57% of those surveyed said that their employer didn’t have a clear policy for licensing fonts and integrating them into the workflow. This can and has led to font copyright lawsuits because designers can make assumptions.

Reduce the risk

Once you’ve got licensing under control, you need to track your purchases. This is where an effective font management strategy that includes a font server can help keep your licensed terms paired with the fonts themselves.

So, when you develop your internal policies, be sure that everyone on the creative team understands them and that you train new team members quickly.

Careful planning and communication can help keep you and your team safe. It just requires some time that can greatly reduce your risk of a font copyright lawsuit.

Server-Based Font Management Best Practices Guide

 

Want to get more information on font management strategies that can help keep your team safe? Download our free Server-Based Font Management Best Practices Guide.

You’ll learn:

  • How to organize fonts for your team’s workflow
  • Create a font licensing strategy
  • Assess your font needs
  • Avoid costly font copyright issues, and more.

Download your best practices guide today and get on the road to font management success.

 


Variable Fonts and Extensis

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An announcement last week has pretty much rocked the type development world.

An update to the OpenType specification (v1.8) was announced at a typography industry event in Warsaw, Poland called ATypI. Didn’t make it to Warsaw for the conference? Here’s a video recording of the session.

While the release of a new specification might not seem like earth-shattering news, the inclusion of “variable fonts,” and the partnership of the big players to make it happen was big news. Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Google all came together to make the specification something that they could all get behind.

 

So what exactly are “variable fonts?”

Variable fonts can be changed along multiple “axes” – by weight, width, optical size, slant or italic. These settings can be set by YOU, the designer.

What this means is you can implement a font, say on a website, and only need to implement one font, rather than multiple faces, to get the job done. In current web development, for example, you need to script in a normal, bold, italic and bold-italic font files to cover the typical weights required in body copy. In the future, with a “variable font” you will use one font file and specify how the font needs to vary for each text element.

The result is a faster websites for your readers, and the gratitude of your IT department as your web hosting costs go down. Mic drop, slow clap, walking away from an explosion, yada yada.

 

What shall these the new fonts be called?

If you know the type development community, you already know that there are bound to be a wide variety of opinions.

Of course, we might end up having different foundries calling them different things (Variable Fonts, Dynamic Fonts, Super Fonts, Modern Multiple Master, who knows). In the end you can be sure that you’ll be getting a better product that comes in a smaller file size – no matter what the name.

 

Extensis Support of Variable Fonts

The main technological needs to support of these files comes from the major players who are already onboard – Microsoft, Google, Apple and Adobe. As support begins to be implemented, Extensis font managers will inherit much of their support naturally through OS support. We will also of course fully test and update our applications to meet the demands of the new formats.

We are also keenly interested in responding to the needs of the creative community as they evolve.

So, what features would be most helpful to you? Sliders in Suitcase Fusion and Universal Type Client that show the different variations possible? Specific metrics required reported in Extensis apps so that you can get the best results in your designs? You tell us.

We want to know what you think – drop us a line in the comments below.

 

Read More

There has been a bunch of interest in this topic in the type design community and beyond. Check out these other articles:


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macOS-Sierra

Apple releases their newest operating system, macOS Sierra on September 20, 2016.

As we know that many users are excited to update as quickly as possible, we have been testing Extensis software with Sierra. The following are current details about compatibility.

 

Suitcase Fusion

  • Suitcase Fusion 7 (v18.1.1 and newer) has been tested and is compatible with macOS Sierra (v10.12)
  • Previous versions of Suitcase Fusion have not been tested, use at your own risk.

 

Universal Type Server

  • Initial tests of Universal Type Client 6 indicate that the current version (v6.1.0) is compatible with macOS Sierra.
  • Due to new macOS permissions, Universal Type Server may encounter a service interruption after upgrading to macOS Sierra.
    Installing the latest Universal Type Server 6.1.1 release over your current installation will restore all functionality without causing data loss.

 

Portfolio

  • There are no known issues with users accessing Portfolio catalogs with the web clients on macOS Sierra.
  • When installing macOS Sierra on a server running Portfolio 2016, the server will stop functioning. Re-install Portfolio 2016 on the machine and functionality will be restored without any data loss.

 

For the most current information about supported software configurations see these pages:


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It’s important to protect your investment. In this case it’s the cost of your entire font collection.

Suitcase Fusion makes it easy to archive your collection for safe keeping. See how.

Want to try it yourself? It’s easy to do.

Download a free 30-day trial of Suitcase Fusion 7.


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Protecting fonts in your collection isn’t as tough as you might think.

Suitcase Fusion allows you to store your fonts in the Extensis cloud with TypeSync.

Fonts are kept on both your machine, as well as in the cloud. It’s a great way to keep two machines in sync.

Want to try TypeSync? Download a free trial.

Download a free 30-day trial of Suitcase Fusion 7.


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Need help getting started with your new font manager? We’ve made it easy.

Watch this short video to learn how to get going with Suitcase Fusion 7.

Don’t have Suitcase Fusion 7 yet? Try it out free for 30 days.

Download a free 30-day trial of Suitcase Fusion 7.


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