Fonts.com site redesign

Monotype Imaging has launched the public beta version of its re-furbished fonts.com Web site, with several new features.

Fonts.com beta site

Visit the new Fonts.com site and check out the new features, including:

  • The first site (and only) site to offer typefaces both through a Web font service and as desktop fonts
  • A new home page billboard area featuring inspirational typographic images, including the Massif typeface, a newly expanded design by Monotype’s Steve Matteson
  • Integrated search and browse control allows users to perform keyword searches, or browse or identify fonts without leaving the home page
  • Enhanced search tools

If you’d like to suggest new features or offer feedback on the site, feel free to click the ‘Feedback’ button found on every page of the new Fonts.com site.

How many fonts are in your collection?

By Jim Kidwell
Product Marketing Manager at Extensis

With anything that you create, it’s important to understand the needs of who will eventually use what you create.

Create phones for the elderly? Understanding the visual and auditory needs of this consumer base would be critical to building a successful product.

So, when we at Extensis create software for creative professionals, we pay close attention to what our users need. To this end, we collect data – lots and lots of data. I’d like to share a couple of statistics that I found interesting.

Think that you have a massive font collection? Well, don’t be so certain of that fact. While the average number of fonts managed in Suitcase Fusion is around 4,000, one particular user has over 80,000 fonts! Now that’s quite a collection!

It’s likely that your collection is more modest. The chart below displays our survey results of relative sizes of font collections.

Number of fonts owned

Of course you won’t likely have all of those fonts active at the same time. The average number of active fonts that Suitcase Fusion users have active is around 650. This would definitely make your font menus more manageable, while still giving you some creative diversity.

The second bit of info that I found interesting was the types of fonts in our users’ collections. Fonts technologies have grown and changed over the years, and our users’ collections reflect that as well. The vast majority of you have many types. Pretty much everyone has True Type, PostScript, OpenType TT and OpenType PS fonts, but the less common font types, such as PostScript Multiple Master and True Type Collections are the main differentiator.

With this type of data, we’re able to make informed decisions about product development – from how we build the user interface, to how we approach the underlying technology of our products. As you likely strive to get better in your job, we’re constantly striving to build better, more useful software.

Extensis Suitcase Fusion 4: New version brings useful features

Suitcase FusionExtensis has released Suitcase Fusion 4, and brought with it a few new features that designers will love. In doing so, Extensis has raised the bar for other font managers when it comes to integrating fonts in the print and web world.

For years (long before the OS X days) my font manager of choice has always been Extensis Suitcase. It’s always been reliable and worked as smoothly as can be expected. But when Fusion 3 was released, I began noticing problems. Nothing major, but it took forever to load, and the Fusion Core System Preference began to forget to launch quite often. It could have been my system and not Fusion, but I never found out. Overall it just wasn’t a smooth experience, so I switched to Font Explorer X and all was well… for a while. When Apple released Lion, however, Font Explorer began exhibiting all sorts of issues for me. As luck would have it, Extensis just released Suitcase Fusion 4. Within hours, it became my preferred font manager. Again.

At first glance, Suitcase Fusion 4 doesn’t appear to have changed much beyond the new icon (part of their new corporate re-branding). But use it for an hour or so and you begin to see they’ve changed much more than just its icon.

For starters, the problems I was having with slow load times of Suitcase, as well as Adobe InDesign with the auto-activation plugin installed, have gone away completely. Suitcase and InDesign both launch quickly and continued to run smoothly over the last two weeks. And because the Fusion Core is part of the app itself, there’s no System Preference amnesia to deal with anymore.

Suitcase Fusion 4 interface

The Suitcase Fusion 4 interface will look familiar to existing users

Integration

Fusion web font integrationThe first thing I noticed was that Extensis’ WebINK technology is fully baked-in to Fusion. Your purchased WebINK fonts show up right in Fusion’s font source list, as well as approximately 4,600 other available fonts for purchase and use on your websites. I actually use WebINK for the fonts you see here on The Graphic Mac – so it’s nice to have access to them right in Suitcase. But Extensis didn’t stop there.

You also have Google’s Web Fonts available at your disposal for use in any application. Google Web Fonts show up in the source list as a separate library as well, so there’s no confusion as to where a font came from.

Fusion feature goodness!

All the past and expected features such as auto-activation in Adobe CS apps, font smart sets, and identification/keyword tools are available in Suitcase Fusion. The ability to leave fonts in place or add them to the Fusion Vault is still there (I prefer to use the Vault to prevent corruption and make backups easier), but a few more goodies are really what makes Fusion 4 a great upgrade.

Fusion 4 introduces an independent font panel into Adobe Creative Suite apps that not only allows you to preview fonts, but create customized font digests for specific projects. The panel requires CS 5 or higher to work.

On the maintenance front, you can now check for font corruption and clear font caches right from within Fusion – avoiding the need for other 3rd party utilities. But the new feature that really made my day was QuickMatch.

Fusion 4 Quick MatchSelecting an available font from your installed fonts list and clicking on the new Quick Match icon displays a list of other fonts in your library that closely resemble the selected font.

OH HELL YEAH!!!

QuickMatch offers a slider to adjust the relevance of the matched results. You can also tick a checkbox to limit the results by font style or classification, making the task of finding just the right font quite simple.

To me, Quick Match is the killer feature that every designer will absolutely love!

And how’s this for cool… you can load an existing website (right from the web) and apply any font in your collection to the site to see what it will look like. Awesome! This is particularly useful if you plan on using the WebINK or Google Web Fonts technology I mentioned above.

Suitcase Fusion 4 is available for Mac OS X 10.5.8 and higher on an Intel Mac, and works with Adobe Creative Suite 3 and higher (I’m sure a CS6 plugin update will arrive shortly after Adobe releases CS6 to the public). The full version costs just $99.95, and upgrades from Fusion 2 or 3 cost just $49.95. A demo is available to see if Suitcase Fusion 4 is right for your preferred workflow.

With this latest updated, Extensis has cemented its dominant lead in the font management market, in my opinion. And it has certainly earned its place back in the Dock of my Mac Pro and MacBook Air.

If you’re in the market for a new font manager, or feel the need to use one for the first time, I HIGHLY recommend giving Suitcase Fusion 4 a try.

Try web FontFonts on any site with FontFonter bookmarklet

FontFonter

Web FontFonts are high quality, screen-optimized fonts designed specifically for web use. FontFonter uses custom CSS and other techniques to temporarily replace a site’s font styles with Web FontFonts, making it a great tool for web designers to quickly see how their site will appear using different font combinations with doing any coding.

FontFonter also offers a handy browser bookmrarklet that works in Safari, Chrome and Firefox which brings up a small floating panel to allow you to select serif and sans-serif fonts to apply the site you’re currently viewing.

What do those abbreviations in font names mean?

Font names often contain cryptic abbreviations. It was even more murky in the “old days”, with severely strict limits on the length of fonts menu names. Although it’s gotten better over time, there are still plenty of font name abbreviations out there.

Font abbreviations

Abbreviations mostly fall in several common categories: foundry name, language, weight, and a few more. I’m embarrassed to admit that it was years before I knew the “SC” after a font’s name meant “SmallCaps.” Ugh!

In any case, Extensis has put together an exhaustive list of font abbreviations and their definitions, which you can check out here.