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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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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


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Part Four of Creating a Brand Style Guide

The Creating a Brand Style Guide Series is written by Pariah Burke, consultant and trainer for creative, publishing, and editorial professionals.

  • Part One: “Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide.”
  • Part Two: “Defining and Creating Your Logo Uses”
  • Part Three: Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media

Design is how you look. Type is how you sound. The tone of voice used by your type is your brand’s fonts. They need to be carefully selected, faithfully synchronized, and rigorously protected as the licensed intellectual property they are.

In the previous installment, Part 3: “Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media,” we discussed the importance of color as a brand asset and identifier. You learned how to start off selecting brand colors for matching rendering in all media, using print colors as the foundation. With print-ready colors in hand, you then converted them to screen-ready RGB and ultimately hex color codes for Web- and mobile-applications. Your brand colors defined, you then learned to communicate the values and formulas of those colors, and their roles within the brand, via your organization’s brand style guide.

Fonts Give Your Brand a Tone of Voice

I’ve been quoted as having said: “People respond more to how you look and sound than to what you actually say. Design is how you look; type is how you sound.” The last statement is an axiom to keep in mind as you consider the typefaces—fonts—that represent your brand. Another aphorism I’m found of is “a typeface is the tone of voice in which the mind’s ear hears your written message.” Printed text is how your brand is represented when you aren’t there to speak for it. The fonts you use to set that text provide the tone and emotional context for your printed words. As the brand manager, you should be as meticulous in choosing and controlling the fonts used to represent your brand as the colors and imagery.

Commission a Custom Font

To truly make your brand unique you can commission a custom font. A bespoke typeface would be yours and yours alone, giving your brand a unique voice. If the idea sounds far-fetched, it isn’t; it’s quite common. Adobe, British Airways, Buccellati, Domino’s, Dwell Magazine, General Electric, HarperCollins, News Corp., Sony, Southwest Airlines, and Zazzle are just a few companies who wanted signature fonts that were genuinely signature—unique and designed to the brand. Even humble Times New Roman, the ubiquitous typeface pre-installed on every computer since 1992, was a custom font commissioned in 1931 to give its purchaser, the London newspaper, The Times, an exclusive and highly readable typeface.

Continue Reading »


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 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. 

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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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Part Two of Creating a Brand Style Guide

Creating a Brand Style Guide Series is written by Pariah Burke, consultant and trainer for creative, publishing, and editorial professionals.

Part One: “Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide.”
Part Three: “Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media” (coming soon)

Your logo, the harbinger of your brand and without a doubt the most crucial of your brand assets, must be protected through strict usage rules. What are those rules? Where and when do they apply? How do you best communicate those rules for consistent, controlled representation of your brand herald? You’ll answer these questions—and more in Creating a Brand Style Guide, Part 2: “Defining and Communicating Your Logo Uses.”

In the Previous Installment

In Part 1 we defined what brand means and how important it is to define a framework for the consistent, controlled representation of that brand in all media.

Protect Your Logo

Few assets are as important to your business as your logo. Creating the mark that will be the harbinger of your brand goes far beyond having a great design. Ensure it’s protectable by investigating its uniqueness as an identifying mark in your area of business. Original logo artwork may be protected through copyright, but when a design identifies a brand, as your logo does, trademark protection is far more important that copyright. Your logo must be unique and dissimilar from any other trademark or service mark used within the same class or classes of businesses. If it isn’t, you will be infringing on another trademark or service mark. Copyright allows owners to go after infringers and to license some or all rights to the copyright protected material to be used by, or become representative of, other entitles. Trademark law, however, obligates mark holders to aggressively defend the uniqueness and unapportionable nature of their logos and other marks. Failing to properly vet your logo in the marketplace could cause you to lose all rights to it—and worse.

Learn more about protecting your digital assets. Download our free digital asset management best practices guide.

Before you build a brand style guide for a new or recently changed brand, engage an intellectual property to ensure the originality of your logo and other protectable brand elements. Trademark law falls under the domain of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As such you’ll usually find attorneys who specialize in trademarks listed under “patent law.”

Continue Reading »


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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.


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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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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