Suitcase Fusion 3With little exception, fonts can be the number one asset any designer owns, and the most difficult to manage.

The in-house graphic designer with a limited number of corporate fonts to use on a daily basis may need nothing more than Apple’s Font Book app (if even that) to manage a small font collection. But the freelance designer with dozens of clients, the ad agency production studio and the print shop with hundreds of clients must have robust font management or dealing with fonts can become a full-time job. For those users, Extensis offers Suitcase Fusion 3.

Suitcase Fusion 3 is the latest version of the longest tenured font manager for the Mac still around, and my personal favorite font manager since long before Mac OS X hit the scene. It’s been the most robust, stable and feature-rich font manager for me. The latest version keeps with tradition and adds a significant feature in the latest version 3 upgrade that will surely expand it’s userbase; web designers looking to add fonts to their website designs.

Suitcase Fusion keeps all your fonts in a single database file, thus cutting out the clutter of storing fonts in folders in the Finder. This also makes it easy to keep duplicate fonts out of your life (since Suitcase warns you of them when you try to add them), and makes backing up your font collection as easy as dragging a single file.

Suitcase Fusion 3 main window

Suitcase Fusion 3's main window offers a plethora of viewing options

The Suitcase Fusion window is relatively clean, offering a source list on the left of your available fonts and the place where you can create customized collections and organized folders. The large preview region on the right makes choosing the perfect font easy. You can even tear off preview windows out of the main window, including saving a PNG image of your font for dropping into a document for testing.

Along with great font organizing, font corruption checking, auto-activation and preview options, Suitcase Fusion 3 offers QuickMatch technology. Select any font in your collection and Suitcase Fusion 3 quickly does a glyph-level comparison of all fonts in your collection to locate similar fonts. I find this feature to be extremely useful, and it works pretty well.

Suitcase Fusion 3 WebINK technology

Suitcase Fusion 3 WebInk technology brings a full range of fonts to the web

WebINK technology in Suitcase Fusion 3 allows designers (finally) to get control of the fonts used on their website designs. Using your free WebINK account, browse the huge selection of quality web fonts from the best foundries; then preview them on your site without a single line of code. Once you choose the right font for your design, you can purchase a license to use the font on your website(s). The fees are fairly reasonable, starting at just 99¢ per month for personal use.

To introduce you to WebINK, Extensis is offering one full year of font rental (standard tier) with each new or upgrade purchase of Suitcase Fusion 3 if you register before December 31, 2010.

I love the ability to preview what your website will look like with the chosen font right in the Fusion application window – it makes testing different fonts fun and easy.

Fusion 3 is fully compatible with Adobe InDesign, Illustrator CS3, CS4 and CS5, Photoshop CS4 and CS5 (32 and 64-bit), and Quark XPress version 7 and 8.

Upgrades from previous versions of Suitcase Fusion are $49.95, and new versions cost $99.95 (International versions cost slightly more). There is a demo available, so if you’ve got a large font collection I highly recommend you give Suitcase Fusion 3 a try.