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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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Michael Shavalier, Director of Creative Operations joins us on September 14th for a live webcast to share SANDOW’s font management success story.

During a recent interview Michael talked about the critical role font management plays at SANDOW, and how finding the right font management solution has helped him and his team improve their efficiency and productivity.

Join us live on Wednesday, September 14th, 10:00 a.m. Pacific; 1:00 p.m. Eastern, where he delves deeper and shares best practices he used from planning to implementation.

Michael will talk about

  • the importance of brand consistency and font license compliance
  • challenges that led to the need for a font management solution
  • the most critical components to SANDOW in a font management solution
  • learnings in preparing for and implementing a font manager
  • SANDOW’s continuing journey with font management

Michael will be available for a live Q&A session after the webcast. After the webcast a recording will be emailed to everyone that registers.

To register, please follow this link.

Hope you can join us!


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Dir. of Creative Ops at SANDOW talks about font manager.

 

Font management plays a key role at SANDOW, a rapidly growing global publishing and media company with brands spanning design, luxury, fashion and beauty. SANDOW’s rapid growth not only brought an ever expanding list of brands, but with each brand their own sets of fonts. This skyrocketed SANDOW’s font collection into the tens of thousands making the need for effective font management critical.

SANDOW recently joined the Extensis family. They were using a different font management solution, but when they experienced limitations in their ability to manage groups effectively, instability with other key applications and technical support that was non-existent, they made the switch to Universal Type Server.

We sat down with Michael Shavalier, Director of Creative Operations at SANDOW to get a deeper look into his experiences with font management.

 

To hear more of Michael’s story live along with best practices he used to prepare and implement a font management solution, sign up for our webcast on Wednesday, September 14 at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern.

 

Extensis: Can you tell us a little about your role as Director of Creative Operations?

Michael: When people ask that I tell them that I’m a former creative director, which evolved into a creative operations role. I don’t design too much anymore. In my life before SANDOW, I worked for the Village Voice’s corporate entity as their design director. I gained lot of experience there with managing art departments and production work flows across the country in 15 locations. So, I had some creative operations experience with setting things up for a lot of users, across remote locations, and adding governance and things like that.

As SANDOW evolved, they brought in a Chief Operating Officer that was looking at everything and trying to combine it into more of a universal workflow where we could gain greater efficiencies. My role at SANDOW naturally evolved as well from being involved strictly with the creative and design teams to where I now I report to our COO. I’m in charge of “creative operations,” but I have a lot of things that involve just straight up operations now.

 

Extensis: Why are fonts and managing them so important to SANDOW?

Michael: Being a publishing and media company with magazines and websites that span the globe, fonts are a key component to our business. Brand consistency and license compliance are at the top of the list where fonts are concerned.

Each brand has its own fonts, which they should be able to manage. Even though the brands are well separated, there’s a lot of synergy and cross-pollination between brands. There are separate design groups, but at the same time there is some overlap.

One of the biggest problems our designers had is when they were asked to do something across brands.  They had to load the other brand’s version of the font, and may have conflicted with other fonts on their system. Sometimes they had to spend a good deal of time trying to work through the glitches of having font conflicts which wasn’t productive or efficient. Now, with a centralized system that manages our fonts, we’re able to identify the font right away and make sure everyone is using the same version. It’s one less thing for everyone to manage. We now know across all brands which font is needed, where it is, or where it should come from and if we’ve got enough licenses. I don’t see many emails anymore saying “this brand is using this weird font, and I don’t know where to get it from”.

Designers and art directors are half of our font users with an understanding and familiarity with font management. The other half are editors, brand leads and such. Typically, the second group is where we’d find we had issues because they had the access to install fonts on their machine without the understanding that fonts are software requiring licenses to adhere to. For about eight years, it was pretty common for an advertiser to send in a font that somehow landed on one of our servers, and no one knew whether they could use it or not. It became time to think about licensing and the legal implications of using these fonts. Now, I can have a lead in each brand, usually a design director or art director, who manages the fonts for that brand by adding or taking them away. It’s allowed the non-design teams not to worry about fonts. They’re there for them.

We’ve done a couple of redesigns here in the last year. We made sure we bought enough font licenses for the brand. The nice thing is I could say, which I wasn’t able to before- when we had that redesign, the brand spent money on these expensive new fonts for their redesign purchasing the correct number of seats, and then was able to remove anyone else from being able to see or use them to maintain license compliance.

 

Extensis: What were the biggest challenges that lead you to implement a font manager?

Michael: As the company grew and became a little more corporate – taking on more and more smaller companies and brands – we had to integrate everyone. One of the problems we realized pretty quickly is, like so many startup companies, we had buckets of fonts. They were either on servers or people’s desktops, or you’d find 15 copies of the same font, or 30 copies of Helvetica but they weren’t the same. I’d venture to say we had tens of thousands of fonts. That’s including things people pulled offline from free font sites, or got on discs or from the different brands. If some designer was asked to put a cowboy style ad together and they grabbed a Giddyup, it ended up on our server, along with whatever else they grabbed at that time. Any designer here, could just get what they needed and move it somewhere because it wasn’t really locked down.

It was really causing a lot of havoc with the design teams, and it was also causing concerns about compliance.

 

Extensis: Why did you choose Universal Type Server as your font manager?

Michael: The font manager we had been using previously fell short in critical areas, in particular control in setting up users and groups, serving out fonts to them and in addition lack of technical support. Universal Type Server has given us the control we need and has excellent technical support.

 

Extensis: What are some of the features that are most critical for SANDOW?

Michael: We have a lot of remote editors in different parts of the country. A big feature for us is the ability to provide remote access to our Universal Type Server so editors can synchronize and manage fonts locally lessening the traffic load to our network. The Universal Type Client synchronizes with the Server automatically so an IT person doesn’t have to remotely access each system. This makes the process extremely efficient and saves hours of valuable IT resources.

Managing users in Universal Type Server is easy. With the way the admin console is set up, and by allowing us to tie it to Active Directory; it’s easy for our users to login with the same credentials they use for everything else. While I’m not doing full group mappings, because our security groups are a little different, using Active Directory does allow me to see any new users in the system, and to pull them through.

So more efficient access overall, and less taxing on our system, because we don’t have a bunch of people logging into the VPN to get their fonts.

 

Extensis: Where are you today with fully implementing font management at SANDOW?

Michael: Our first phase was basically to replace the other font manager for every user that was on it. We’re replacing it all now and we’re pretty close to being done. That would be at least three of our main brand groups.

 

Extensis: Looking a bit into the future, what are your next steps?

Michael: The next phase is going to be adding additional groups and users that weren’t using the other font management software, they are literally using folders of fonts. Our goal is to get Universal Type Server Clients installed across all brands. I’ve actually already built out a system to support the new users.

I have a feeling the next part of the project will be doing a lot of licensing and auditing. Utilizing the reporting features in Universal Type Server will help us sort that all out.

 

Extensis: Any parting advice for someone who needs to solve their font management challenges?

Michael: I’d carve out time to set it up for success on both the technical level and the user adoption level. There may be pain points in figuring some things out but it can be simple. I think a lot of companies, if they thought they had to go all in at the beginning, it would be too daunting. I realized early on in the project, it doesn’t have to be all in at the beginning. It’s been an ongoing project.

 

Extensis: Michael, thank you for your time and sharing your story with us.

 


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Font Management

Learn font distribution best practices so you don’t get caught in a font licensing conundrum

Think of font distribution as a process. Not only does it keep your fonts organized and efficiently distributed, it also helps you maintain the appropriate number of font licenses by helping track which fonts are authorized, purchased, shared (with appropriate team members), and reviewed.

A proper font distribution process helps in many areas:

  • Time and money spent. Incorrect font usage can cause unnecessary misprints from text reflows and require reprints that waste time and money.
  • Tracking issues. Without a proper font distribution process, your team has little (if any) insight into which fonts are being used. Some fonts may be underutilized which can result in purchasing more font licenses than needed. Proper tracking and reporting give you a meaningful way to make future font purchase decisions.
  • Unhappy employees. Confusion and frustration reign when your design team can’t find the fonts they need when they need them. Life is easier when a process is in place that allows them to find what they are looking for.
  • Legal concerns regarding font licensing. Without a controlled distribution and system of font access, unlicensed fonts can gain easy access into your organization or even worse, custom fonts could be released into the wild. All of which could potentially lead to a lawsuit.

Download our free Server Based Font Management Guide. You’ll learn more about font distribution and creating effective font management strategies for your team’s needs.

Read on to learn font distribution basics and best practices to help alleviate these potential problems.

Five Font Distribution Best Practices

1. Decide how you want to organize your font collection
We recommend organizing your teams by workgroups. Workgroups are groups of fonts and users. Basically, you give a specific number of users access to specific fonts. Below are three common methods to choose from.

User Type: user types may vary, but we commonly hear about editorial, design, and production user types. These different groups have different needs and will use fonts for different reasons so it makes sense for some organizations to divide their font teams by user type.

Client: Every client is unique and so are the fonts they are using. For example, Times New Roman was built specifically for the Times of London. Companies want a specific brand identity and they can do this by creating and commissioning their own typeface, or selecting groups of fonts that most effectively represent their brand.

Project: Just like each client is unique, so is each project. However, since projects don’t have to be client specific, sometimes grouping by project makes more sense.

2. Set up compliance using permissions
One of the easiest ways to be compliant and avoid piracy issues is to set up user permissions. Instead of a whole department or company having access to certain fonts, only people who need rights to particular fonts have permission to use them. Permissions ensure your company is following branding guidelines and avoiding even inadvertent piracy because users can only use approved and/or purchased fonts that they have access to.

3. Choose roles
Who is going to be choosing, purchasing, and uploading fonts into your system? Is it your Lead Graphic Designer? Is it someone in your IT department? Having a key person who is in charge of this process helps you avoid a guessing game that can lead to problems.

4. Keep record of your font licenses and track usage
When you’re managing the distribution of your fonts, you can gain a level of control over font compliance. You have direct access into who has access to your fonts, and how many users are activating them. This helps ensure you have the right number of licenses for your actual usage and lets you make improved future font purchasing decisions – remember when we discussed saving time and money? This is your ticket to doing just that. Keeping track of all this can be a huge challenge, but font management software can help you.

5. Pick the right enterprise font management software:
Having reliable, robust font management software to save time, money, and maintain license compliance is key to making font distribution possible and successful. Look for a solution that has a dashboard allowing you to easily compare fonts side by side. Check for the ability to search for a font by specific type and set up user permissions by workgroups. Make sure reports are available so you are able to see if more font licenses need to be purchased or scaled back for future use.

What does your font distribution process look like? Let us know in the comments section.


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Our new Portfolio release adds support for the latest OS X, advanced reporting features, and more

With the explosion of digital assets and media over the past decade, companies are struggling to keep them organized and accessible while ensuring version control. Locating and distributing files has become a major time and productivity killer.

Fortunately, Extensis Portfolio™ makes digital asset management (DAM) affordable for companies of all sizes. Originally released in October 2014, Portfolio transformed the user experience with suggested, guided search capabilities, millisecond results, a sleek new user interface and elegant thumbnail views. It’s used by hundreds of Fortune 5000 companies. And it’s just been updated to make it better than ever.

Get Your Assets in Gear with Portfolio 1.5

Portfolio has added full compatibility with Apple® OS X® Yosemite (v10.10) and advanced reporting options. It’s also faster than ever, with new features that increase the efficiency of importing, copying, updating, converting and exporting assets.

Continue Reading »


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The Extensis headquarters are firmly rooted in the land of microbrews and skinny jeans here on the left-coast in Portland, Oregon. In our Portland and LA offices you’ll find two creative workflow experts helping companies maintain license compliance and improve their workflows using Extensis font and digital asset management solutions:

Kari Friedewald, Regional Business Manager, Extensis Portland Office

Max, Systems Engineer, Extensis LA Office

  • Favorite color: Red
  • Latest book: The 900 Days: The Siege Of Leningrad
  • Ideal vacation spot: Must have a good mix of relaxing beaches and great ATV (four wheeler) courses.
  • During the commute: Electronic and Alternative music

Both enjoy long walks on the beach and ensuring that font and digital asset management projects are successfully completed on time and under budget. To learn more about what Kari and Max can do for you, please check out our Professional Services page.


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The Extensis headquarters are firmly rooted in the land of fixed-gear bicycles and hipster mustaches here in Portland, Oregon. So what do you do if you’re struggling with fonts and digital assets halfway across the country in the midwest? Not to worry, we have you covered with our Chicago offices that serve the central region of the United States and Canada.

In our Chicago offices you’ll find two creative workflow experts helping companies maintain license compliance and improve their workflows using Extensis font and digital asset management solutions:

 

Michael Liwanag

Regional Business Manager
Godfrey

Matthew Nelson

Systems Engineer

Nelson

 

Both enjoy long walks on the beach and ensuring that font and digital asset management projects are successfully completed on time and under budget.

To learn more about what Michael and Matthew can do for you, please check out our Professional Services page.


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The Extensis headquarters are firmly rooted in the land of microbrews and skinny jeans here in Portland, Oregon. So what do you do if you’re struggling with fonts and digital assets across the country on or near the east coast? Not to worry, we have you covered with our NYC offices that serve the eastern region of the United States and Canada.

In our NYC office you’ll find three creative workflow experts helping companies maintain license compliance and improve their workflows using Extensis font and digital asset management solutions:

 

Jeremy Godfrey, Regional Business Manager

Godfrey

  • Favorite color: Blue
  • Latest book: Maui Revealed
  • Ideal vacation spot: Maui or St. Croix… depends on if I’m departing from PDX or NYC.
  • During my commute: I read the NY Post.

 

James Grace, Senior Systems Engineer

Grace

  • Favorite color:Neon Orange
  • Latest book: Travels
  • Ideal vacation spot: The Beach in Cancun, Mexico
  • During the commute: I listen to PopTron : SomaFM  

 

 

Chris Chen, Systems Engineer

Chen

  • Favorite color: Black
  • Latest book: Start with Why
  • Ideal vacation spot: Maldives
  • During the commute: Flo Rida,  David Guetta,  Rihanna

 

All three enjoy long walks on the beach and ensuring that font and digital asset management projects are successfully completed on time and under budget.

To learn more about what Jeremy, James, and Chris can do for you, please check out our Professional Services page.


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Today we released a free v10.2 update for Portfolio Server 10 users that includes:

  • Support for finding, organizing, and previewing additional video formats
  • A fresh new look to the Web Client interface
  • The ability to search OCR layers in PDF documents
  • An open API for integrating your digital asset collection with other business systems(Enterprise Edition)
  • Performance and stability improvements

The 10.2 update is available for all components including the Server and Desktop Client, as well as the NetPublish and NetMediaMAX solution packs.

Download the v10.2 update and release notes

If you’re not already using Portfolio Server as your digital asset management system you can download a free 30 day trial of Portfolio Server 10.2.


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We’d like to bring your attention to three leading magazine publishers that are using Universal Type Server to manage and distribute fonts to their publishing groups across the globe to secure font compliance across their organizations. Washingtonian Magazine, MetroCorp and Future Publishing have selected Universal Type Server to ensure font compliance and avoid multi-million dollar font lawsuits as recently experienced by NBC

As you may know, font license agreements are just as strict as other software license agreements and come with substantial legal implications for misuse. NBC was recently served with a lawsuit for $2 Million by the Font Bureau Inc., a typographic design firm, which alleges that the network infringed the firm’s fonts in marketing material used to promote its shows.

Companies across the world rely on Universal Type Server to ensure font compliance and avoid these costly oversights.

Washingtonian Magazine, MetroCorp (publisher of Philadelphia Magazine and Boston Magazine) and Future Publishing have all recognized the benefits of a server-based solution over decentralized font management solutions in ensuring font compliance.

Ed Haynes, IT Customer Services Manager at Future Publishing states, “We publish over one hundred titles and Universal Type Server gives us consistency across all of them and provides us with font usage reporting, which is essential for us to monitor our compliance.”

As font use is a key element in the day-to-day running of these publishers, a system that ensures consistency and efficiency without inhibiting creativity is vital.

Colin McSherry, Associate Art Director/ Mac Tech Support at Philadelphia Magazine agrees, “Universal Type Server allows us to delegate a large portion of font management responsibilities to a server that monitors font compliance.”

According to Paul Chernoff, Director of Information Technology at Washingtonian Magazine “Universal Type Server makes it easy for The Washingtonian to distribute fonts used only for a specific article. Recording the font license directly in the server ensures that we don’t accidentally exceed the font’s license.”

Chernoff added, “Before we had Universal Type Server, we always bought licenses for our entire staff; Type Server has made it possible to buy fewer licenses by making font management easier.”

To learn how to keep your creative workflows safe and legal with effective font management, join Thomas Phinney (@thomasphinney), Extensis Senior Product Manager for Fonts and Typography, for this webcast recording that takes an insightful look into the world of font licensing.


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