Font Management Tips for Web Designers

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.

Organized
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 Typesetter

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.

Fontcase Typesetter

Fontcase Typesetter

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. :)

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Comments

12 comments on “Font Management Tips for Web Designers

        • It will be different depending on which font management software you’re using. But generally, you will just copy your font folder into dropbox. Then Import fonts into your font management software by pointing to that fonts folder on your dropbox. It’s treated like any other folder locally, only it’s on a cloud. 

  1. Thanks for sharing, which I had tons of free fonts collected in my private collection. It will be time consuming to revisit every font when a project arise.

    • It’s definitely time consuming to organize your fonts upfront if you have a large collection, but once they’re categorized you’d be surprised how much quicker it is to find the perfect font for your project. 

      Start by organizing fonts that start with the letter A instead of trying to do your whole collection it in one sitting. A letter a day and you’ll have a clean and tidy font collection in about a month. :)

  2. Thanks for this article.

    I currently use TypeDNA font software and I store all of my fonts in my CrashPlan account. It’s saved me time when searching for a good font to use.

  3. FontCase and Dropbox don’t work very well together. I thought I had an epiphany when I figured out doing the same – until everything came crashing down. Then a few digs on Google and Forums made me realize that it wasn’t just me – a lot of people were having the same trouble :(

  4. I agree, but It worth trying it again with its latest version. Looks it works better now.