As a web designer, you deal with tons and tons of fonts every single day. Without organization and font management software, analyzing and choosing the perfect font for your website design is tedious and will seriously take a toll on your computer and patience.
What is Font Management Software?
Basic font management software will allow you to organize your fonts, preview and compare them easily. More importantly, it will let you activate only the fonts you need, while leaving the others deactivated. It should also take care of issues like installing and uninstalling fonts, and diagnose and repair any font conflicts.
Managing your Font Collection
Sync your Fonts
Instead of storing fonts locally, I prefer to keep all of my fonts on a cloud, like Dropbox. This allows me to share one font file between my own computers instead of having multiple copies floating around. Since I download and purchase fonts at home and work, this assures the two libraries are always synced and up to date.
Categorize Your Fonts
It’s up to you what organizational and naming convention works best for your workflow, but I like to group them by classification – Decorative and Display fonts (which contain irregular styles like distressed, handwritten, symbols, etc.) Script, San Serif and Serif fonts.
Screenshot of Suitcase Fusion 3
Tag Your Fonts
I’ve more recently been tagging some of my favorite web fonts that are available on sites like Typekit or Google Web Fonts and also freeware fonts to be used with @font-face. This will be time consuming or even impossible to keep up with if you try to download and tag every single one of the fonts available. I try to narrow it down to my favorite and most-used fonts. This is just an example of how you can tag your fonts to work best with the type of work you do.
Downsize Your Collection
Categorizing, grouping and tagging your fonts might seem a little obsessive compulsive to some, but for me, the initial time spent up front organizing my fonts has made a huge difference in my workflow. I actually downsized my font collection by thousands. The extra time and effort it takes to stay organized keeps me from hoarding too many fonts. If you don’t want to take the time to categorize and tag it, do you really love it that much?
Fontcase (the font management software I currently use and love!) really caters to web designers, especially with their typesetter feature. You can pull up any website, and by dragging fonts from your library on the window, substitute the fonts immediately. You can even adjust the size of the font, color, leading and paragraph alignment right in the window.
This feature is perfect to see how combinations of certain fonts look together in different styles before committing, and much easier than opening up a graphics editor like Photoshop.
Screenshot of Fontcase Typesetter in action
Popular Font Management Software
There are tons of really great font management software out there. Here’s a list of a few popular ones. If you don’t see one listed, let me know and I’ll add it.
- Font Book (Mac)
- Suitcase Fusion 3 (Mac & Win)
- Fontcase (Mac)
- FontExplorer X (Mac & Win)
- Font Expert (Win)