Manage your fonts more effectively

Typography - a powerful weaponI’ve just been reading some interesting observations about the use of type in the movies, which reveals that Hollywood directors are big fans of the Apple OS typeface. It’s amazing how much we take typography for granted and yet it plays such an important daily role in influencing the films we watch, the products we buy and the newspapers we read. With my curosity ignited I decided to see what fonts were kicking around on my machine and after a quick visit to the STC Font Browser, I was amazed by exactly how many typefaces I have.

If you want to make effective use of all these fonts, whether it’s for professional graphic design or simply for sending fancy letters to your pals, then you need to get them organized. Start by installing a font manager and use it to delete unwanted fonts and to ensure that all of your typefaces are stored in one location. Remember to back them up to prevent any nasty accidents. FontFrenzy is particularly good at this and it allows you to set up ‘restore points’ and reinstall the fonts that were on your system on a specific date.

The next stage is to activate the fonts that you want to use. Don’t activate those that you won’t use frequently because it hogs system resources (you can always come back and switch them on another time). Activating fonts is a simple business, and tools such as FontSuit and FontExpert let you turn them on and off with a single click.

It’s also a good idea to check for corrupt fonts. An application such as Fix Fonts Folder will scan your type files for errors and correct any problems that are repairable. Of course, it’s important to remember that fonts are affected by licencing laws in the same way that normal software is, so if you intend to publish stuff you should really use a solution like Suitcase Server to ensure that you’re legal.

Once your fonts are all up together it’s worth reading up on typography in order to find out how you can put them to best use. The Adobe Typography Primer is a good place to start, and if you’re anything like me you’ll soon start looking at bus stop hoardings, film posters and album covers in a completely new light.

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