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Font management is about several things. The fun part is experimenting with your type. But the other part- the part behind the scenes- is the practical part: having the font you need- the RIGHT font you need- delivered for you.

Auto-activation plug-ins are the key to the operation. They work in the background to ‘call-up’ a precise font and activate it when you open a document in, say, Adobe InDesign CS4, or QuarkXPress 8. The plug-ins for Suitcase Fusion 2 are all-new (clearly- CS4 just come out…yesterday). But beyond the new compatibility, the auto-activation plug-ins have some really great productivity options built in to them:

  • Create a ‘document set’ in Suitcase Fusion of all active faces in your document directly from within InDesign, Illustrator, or QuarkXPress
  • ‘Pick best match’ – If you don’t have the exact font to auto-activate, Fusion 2 will find the best fit and activate it for you. Or you can do it manually- your choice.
  • Activate the entire font family – Make all the other weights/styles in the family available for use.
  • Activate only the single type face – if you prefer to only activate the precise faces used in your doc.
All of this is powered by Font Sense, our own technology that does a crazy thing on the fly: it analyzes many different metrics about each font in your library: name, version, foundry, kerning tables, etc. to give a unique ID to every single font. Think of it as a fingerprint- no 2 are alike. Then, when Adobe inDesign ‘calls-up’, say… Bodoni. You may have many versions, from perhaps Fontshop, ITC or Monotype. Because each version has it’s own unique Font Sense ID, Suitcase Fuision 2 knows exactly which version to activate. No document worries about reflows. No muss, no fuss. Looks exactly as it should.
Bundled with Suitcase Fusion 2, the font corruption checking and organization software, FontDoctor, has also been upgraded. FontDoctor now includes the ability to clean all of your font caches – system fonts, application fonts- the works. No more ‘extra’ utility to do this. And as we all know, clean caches = happy font action.
We’re really excited about this one. We hope you will be too.
Free trials will be available the day we launch- so come check it out- on us.

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Curious about which fonts come with Adobe CS4? Adobe Product Manager for Fonts and Global Typography, Thomas Phinney, posted a complete list of the fonts that will be installed with the products after they are released.

Of note is the removal of a number of fonts. Arno Pro, Bickham Script Pro and Garamond Premier Pro that were previously included with CS3 were removed, as well as Bernhard Modern Std and Caflisch Script Pro from InDesign.

Admittedly, the list of included fonts is still fairly long, though it seems unfortunate to remove such a great script font like Bickham Script. I must admit that it’s one of my favorite script faces.

Check out Thomas’ blog, Typblography for the complete list.

Adobe CS4 is coming…

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If you haven’t heard yet, Adobe Creative Suite 4 is coming down the pipe soon. They’re holding a day of webcasts to announce and show off the new features of the suite on September 23rd, but you must sign up to view the webcast. Click the banner below to register.

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There are many ways to give a company feedback, but when companies get as large as Adobe, at times it can be difficult to get someone’s attention.

The “Dear Adobe” site created by Adam Meisel & Erik Frick allows you to post your gripes and rate those of others. Those that are rated most highly by other users bubble up to the top of their Top 25 Gripes list.

Got a complaint with no answer? Shoot it over to Dear Adobe.

So what does this all get you? Well, apparently those over at Adobe are watching the top gripes on the list, and who knows, one of your top gripes could help steer future product development.

I would never recommend that this replace the support that you can get through their standard technical support channels. I can tell you from experience that I’ve had many of my questions answered by reading the documentation or visiting one of the many Adobe Forums. More often than I’d like it’s merely a case of “user error.”

Of course, if you’re having “issues” with a piece of Extensis software, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, read our knowledge base, visit our forums, or shoot me an email. We’ll do our best to answer your questions.

[Thanks to Extensis Software Engineer, Jock Murphy for the headsup.]

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I left my Blackberry smart phone at home this morning. I was nearly into the office by the time I realized what I had done, making it futile to double-back for a rescue. It’s now more than an hour later and I still feel lost, even though I’m fully plugged in and have phone, email and internet access here at my desk.

We all seem to have our vices in this electronic age, it could be an MP3 player, a Wii, or perhaps a digital camera. My sister for example has a constant blue blinking light attached to her ear. I can’t recall a time I’ve seen her in the last three years without her Bluetooth.

What about software? Do you have software on your system that you find indispensible? Digital photography and computer photo illustration guru, Jim DiVitale has two:

“If you told me I could have only two software programs on my computer, I would give up everything I have except Adobe Photoshop and Extensis Portfolio. They are the only two programs I can’t live without.”

Jim DiVitale uses Extensis PortfolioJim’s photography has been featured in all the leading photography/creative publications from Professional Photographer to Print Magazine. He is also a favorite lecturer and presenter at events including Photoshop World, Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, HOW Design Conference and American Society of Media Photographers.

If you are interested in hearing what Jim has to say about digital imaging (and perhaps how he uses Extensis Portfolio), you can attend his 3-day workshop in Atlanta at the end of this month. He will also be conducting a multi-city, Adobe sponsored tour across Canada this August. It would be worth your while to check him out if you have the opportunity.

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Fonts, typefaces and the web, oh my!Using fonts on the web has been a constant challenge for web designers. You may want to use a snazzy typeface on your site, but with most standard HTML sites you need to rely upon whatever fonts the user has installed on their system. This is of course for good reason – it protects the intellectual property of typeface designers, and makes sure that the “per user” font licensing model is respected.

Typically if a web designer wants to use a fancy typeface that can’t be guaranteed to be on a user’s system, the designer can typeset the appropriate text and save it in a GIF or JPG for use on the site (like I’ve done in this post). This displays the text on the site, and protects the typeface designer, since the end user cannot easily recreate and use the typeface.

Embedded fonts

With Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and other web technologies, it has become a bit easier to embed fonts within tiny web applications. This can allow the end user of the application to see the appropriate font, and it can be typically displayed as live text that can be quickly reformatted, rather than being stuck in an image. Of course, when you deliver and use fonts in this way, you are coming up against a new form of font usage that may be outside of the typically licensed use. At this point you could be considered and Independent Software Vendor and depending how your web application is used, it is likely that you will need a separate deal with your typeface vendor. I’ll have more on Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) font license deals in the coming weeks.

Of course, there even more areas where you may run into embedded typeface trouble on the web. For example, if you’re a printer who has a web interface that allows users to create custom rubber stamps using a wide variety of typefaces, you had better work with your type vendor to strike up a deal. This situation could come into problems on two fronts. The web user can be considered a user of the typeface, and when a rubber stamp is created, it is effectively creating a re-usable copy of a unique typeface. Before you run into legal trouble here, it’s best to talk to your type vendor as well as your own lawyer.

The bleeding edge

So, you say, there’s got to be an easier way of dealing with typefaces, fonts and the web. There’s a new approach that attempts to attack the problem, and it all started off in the open-source world. It basically allows the a web designer to link to a font that is on any web server, and have the end-user’s web browser display the page using that remote font. This method of font use has typeface designers very concerned, and rightly so. If this font use model continues, it could effectively pull the run out from under the entire current per-user font licensing model. Linking to fonts on a web server that were purchased under the current licensing model could very easily be construed as font piracy. Since the current licenses typically are on a per-user model, and by placing the font up on a website, many, many users could potentially be using the same font – all without paying for it.

As far as I know, this functionality is only built into Apple’s Safari browser and the Opera browser. The fact that Apple is including this “feature” in Safari is a bit ironic in my book. Apple has always been a friend to the creative folk who have fairly consistently supported them through the ups and downs of their technological swing. This Safari move takes aim at making a gaping financial hole in what currently is a fairly small, but creative typeface design community. Now that Apple is in a huge upswing, it’s the time for us to watch and make sure that they don’t start behaving like a monopoly and pushing the little guys around.

What’s good to hear in this area is that Bill Hill, Lead Researcher at Microsoft recently commented at the Business of Type conference at Microsoft that including this feature isn’t in the plan at all for Internet Explorer. I seem to remember him describing his opinion in his typically colorful way, “We’ll go there kicking and screaming, if we go there at all.” Typeface designers should know that they have a friend in Microsoft, and I surely hope that this sentiment continues with their leadership.

Time will only tell what will happen in this area. Since only a few browsers support this remote font use technology, I don’t think that it will be very widely used. And heck, web designers do use the technology open themselves up to all sorts of potential legal problems. It’s probably best to just stay away from using this technology until everything shakes out.

Stay tuned for a post on ISV/EOM font licensing in the coming weeks. Over and out.

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Adobe Creative Suite 3 Symposium Philadelphia sponsorsIn conjunction with Adobe Systems and CDW, Extensis will be participating in the the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Symposium next week. If you attend this event, you’ll get a preview of Extensis Portfolio and see how Project Sync provides a direct connection to your files from Adobe Creative Suite applications.

If you’re interested in attending, here’s the pertinent info:

  • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Symposium
  • Tuesday, June 3rd
  • 8:00 a.m – 4:30 p.m.
  • Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market Street

For more information and registration details please visit:

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Adobe CS4 beta buildsIf you’re in the mood to check out the future developments of creative applications, take a moment to check out three new beta builds that are forthcoming for Adobe Creative Suite 4. Adobe has made available builds of Adobe Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Soundbooth.

Of course, since they are beta builds, you might run into some performance issues, but that’s the payment for using the most cutting edge technology. Beta builds run for 48 hours for all users, yet if you’re a current CS3 user the beta builds will run until CS4 is officially released.

Head on over to the Adobe Labs site to download your copy.

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In this second outing into the conversation about font licenses (or End User License Agreements – EULAs) let’s explore another “outside the box” use that you might come across when working with fonts and typography.

FontLab TransType Pro can help you convert a font from format to anotherSo, what happens when you’ve purchased a license for a Postscript version of a font, and then your client/printer/whomever indicates that they only want you to use True Type fonts. You’ve already purchased a license for the font, so can you convert that font using a tool such as FontLab’s TransType and still stay within the terms of your license?

Believe it or not, some licenses will allow such conversions! Adobe® fonts are allowed to be converted from one format to another, even though some other foundries specifically prevent this type of data manipulation. When manipulating a font, whether to convert it’s format or to add a new glyph, the most important thing to remember is that you should never expect any technical assistance with the resultant font.

Adobe product manager for fonts and global typography, Thomas Phinney, confirmed Adobe’s position during a panel discussion at the recent Business of Type conference held at Microsoft this spring. That’s good news for those of us who have purchased an older copy of Adobe Font Folio® in Postscript and are aching for some font format flexibility. Heck, if you’ve got the cash, it’s probably best to just avoid font conversion issues and move your font collection over entirely to OpenType fonts.

Of course, if you have any questions about what you’re allowed to do within your own font licenses, be sure to consult with your legal advisers.

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Christophe Huet - pregnant woman image created for CitroenYou might like to think that you have mad Photoshop skillz, and you might be right. Yet, at times it’s nice to be humbled at the feet of a master. Christophe Huet is one of those masters. He’s taken his skills into the world of advertising, producing some truly memorable imagery for clients such as Sony, Rossignol, Stihl, and Citroen.

Many of the surreal images on his site include a “Making Of” link where you can step through screen shots of his work in progress. If you’re a current student, or have ever just wondered “how’d they do that?” it’s definitely fun to browse through his collection.

Christophe Huet - image of a skiier created for Rossignol

Here’s a sample of his before and after work in an image created for a Motorola advertisement.

Christophe Huet - original image of a man doing a backflip for a Motorola advertisement

And now, the fully updated image, ready for placement in the ad. (Pay special attention to the model’s left arm.)

Christophe Huet - final image of man doing a backflip for a Motorola advertisement


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