As 2012 comes to a close, we like to sit back and reflect on the past year, and make predictions for what’s ahead in 2013.
What happened in 2012:
In 2012, we saw a number of new developments that wove fonts more tightly into your creative workflow. Font managers included new features that allowed font browsing and activation directly from Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, allowing you to more quickly browse, and activate fonts from your collection.
Type foundries and web font services also extended web fonts more deeply into the design workflow. For example, WebINK and Google Web Fonts became directly accessible for free in Adobe Photoshop through the Web Font Plug-in. By integrating font tools more directly into creative applications, you can now mock-up a website without purchasing desktop copies of the fonts.
However, it was the importance of font compliance that might have gained the most exposure in 2012 due to a number of high profile lawsuits that centered on font infringement and misuse. TBS, NBC and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney all got caught up in font licensing questions and lawsuits, revealing just how significant the ramifications can be.
Because of increased attention from the 2012 lawsuits, we expect a heightened effort on the part of designers and any content publishers to determine whether the fonts they are using are being used legally and in accordance with license agreements.
We also expect type foundries to enforce the appropriate use of licensed fonts as they seek to protect their work. This makes it essential for all industries to manage font compliance carefully, just like they would with any other piece of software.
As the traditional arbiters of software compliance, we expect IT managers to be the catalyst that spearheads the shift towards treating font licensing as firms do any other piece of software. Tracking the installation and usage of fonts will also increase in importance as more organizations fall victim to font-related lawsuits due to lack of oversight and effective distribution. Wherever fonts are used, compliance will be more tightly controlled and monitored. Starting with the creative teams, and also extending to any team that needs custom fonts to maintain brand consistency – sales, marketing, administration and beyond.
We also expect to see the integration of fonts, font selection and usage to be more tightly tied to the creative process – whatever the type of project – print, web, and beyond. Font management applications will integrate more tightly into critical professional design applications, and provide seamless font access with a minimum amount of effort.
I’m looking forward to everything that 2013 holds for font management, I hope that you are as well.