I have confessed to font addiction before, so that’s nothing new. When you have over 10,000 fonts on your computer, you know your “problem” runs deep.
With that size collection, what can you do to keep them organized? And honestly, how can you really keep track of and remember all those different letter forms?
I was contacted by Lisa Wood of Sprout New Media this week. Lisa had two questions, and by her questions alone, I knew she was a fellow addict!
“How Do You Keep Track of All Your Fonts?”
Lisa wondered if I had some kind of visual reference for fonts, and what system I used to organize them. Back in the B.C. (before children) days, I went through my collection and printed a sample page of the medium weight of every typeface style I had (see photo above).
I had to purchase a 3-inch binder to hold them all. After I punched holes in every page, I separated the styles into categories: serif; sans serif; display; script; etc.
When I was looking for a particular kind of typeface, I simply flipped through the pages. Each page showed the type large, and also had a sample paragraph in several different text sizes. You could see what the typeface would look like both in headlines and body copy.
A Paper Notebook: How Quaint!
Using a three-ring binder to classify your typefaces seems so old fashioned now. The tool I recommended to Lisa was a piece of software called FontExplorer X Pro, by Linotype. Lisa is on a Mac, and I am, too.
[EDIT: I have since installed Suitcase Fusion 3 on one of my machines, and it’s a great piece of software, too.]
I can’t make first-hand recommendations for Windows users, but I have heard good things about a piece of software called MainType. (Windows users, what software do you use to organize your typefaces? Tell me in the comments!)
There are many advantage to using software to organize your typefaces:
- Software allows to to tag typefaces with descriptors like “serif,” “display,” “script,” or even “playful,” or “corporate.” You can use any descriptors that will help you find and choose the fonts you have.
- Font management software gives you the ability to turn fonts on and off, which makes a shorter font list in your software programs, and conserves computing power for other things.
- You can see a preview of the font you’d like to use before you enable it (see below).
“Where Can I Find More?”
This is the question that told me the most. Lisa wants more font goodness, and I understand. There’s no such thing as too many typefaces.
FontSquirrel features an extensive collection of no-cost fonts. The quality varies, but if you just need to inject some quick personality into a project, they may have just the font for you.
How Do You Juggle Fonts?
I’d like to know how you juggle your fonts. Do you use software? Paper? Let me know in the comments, and please share any type questions you may have. I know it’s a confusing subject for many people, so fire away and I’ll work to dispel your confusion.