As you build up a collection of fonts, you will need to make decisions about the types of font that you choose and obtain some tools to help you work with them.

Font management & creation

Check out part 1 of our Masterclass on Basic Fonts.

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You can obtain fonts from a number of sources, all accessible via the Internet. The major font publishers, Adobe, Bitstream, Linotype, ITC, and Monotype, sell fonts individually as well as in families, or in collections of contrasting typefaces and as complete libraries on CD-ROM. 
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Individual designers often sell their own font designs. There are also many sources of shareware or free fonts, some of which are excellent, while others are poorly crafted with incomplete character sets. 
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<h2>Font formats</h2>
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Over the years, software manufacturers have developed a number of different font formats, each of which offers its own advantages and disadvantages. The main formats are:
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<h2>PostScript Type 1</h2>
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Adobe originally developed Type 1 fonts for use with the early PostScript printers and RIPs. Each face comprises a pair of files – one for sending outline font shapes to the printer (‘printer fonts’) and one for producing a representation of that font on-screen in your design software (‘screen fonts’). 
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Adobe developed a utility called Adobe Type Manager (ATM), which borrowed information from the printer fonts to smooth their on-screen equivalents. 
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This is not required under Windows 2000, XP, or Mac OS X, nor under Mac OS Classic within Adobe programs, but the Type 1 format is still made from separate printer and screen font files, so misplacing either will render the font useless.
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<h2>Multiple Masters (MMS) </h2>
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An extension of Type 1, Adobe’s Multiple Master (MM) format lets you create unlimited variations of a typeface by stretching the design along different axes. 
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Despite originating in 1992, the range of MMs is small. Generally speaking, the technology has had its day, and not even Adobe recommends MM any more. 
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Some workflow and pre-press systems cannot process MM fonts. Some MM fonts also exist in Type 1 and TrueType formats, and it is common for the wrong kind to be used. Always specify the correct version before sending files.
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<h2>TrueType</h2>
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These fonts, produced by Apple and Microsoft in collaboration, come as a single file containing both printer and screen information. Although more convenient than Type 1, TrueType is still, generally unfairly, regarded with suspicion by the design community and pre-press industry. 
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Many production workflow systems will blindly flag the use of TrueType fonts as a potential problem, while the PDF/X format used for submitting documents for press rejects TrueType altogether.
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<h2>OpenType</h2>
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Adobe and Microsoft developed OpenType as a next-generation font format that offers many advantages. OpenType fonts can be PostScript or TrueType-based internally, and they are fully cross-platform. 
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OpenType fonts occupy single data files per face, unlike Type 1, yet can still offer 100 per cent PostScript glyphs. In fact, Adobe has moved its entire font library over to the OpenType standard. 
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Most importantly, OpenType is based on ‘Unicode’ values rather than the restricted old Latin character set, so each font can contain several thousand glyphs rather than just 256. 
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This makes OpenType ideal for script languages such as Japanese and Cantonese, but also opens up a world of discretionary and contextual glyphs for the serious Western typographer. 
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A single OpenType font could, for example, include not just the basic character and number sets but also old style numerals, multiple alternative ligature pairs, swashes, and a host of extras such as numbers inside black or white circles and squares, decorative capitals for use as drop caps, sideways and upside-down glyphs, and so on.
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Be warned that support for OpenType fonts is not universal – yet. They are supported in Adobe’s Creative Suite, Macromedia’s MX programs, and a handful of others such as Softpress Freeway, yet most offer very limited support at best. 
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QuarkXPress allows OpenType fonts, but only in Windows, and even then gives no access to any advanced glyph functions.
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<h2>Other issues</h2>
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Although Mac OS and Windows allow you to install identical Type 1 and TrueType fonts on the same system, this is best avoided. While fonts with the same name but in different formats may look the same, there are often small but significant differences. 
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If you set type in a TrueType font but your printer uses the Type 1 version, don’t be surprised to find your text reflows or that there are differences in headlines or drop capitals. Some programs, such as Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, indicate font formats in their font menus. This way, you can see if there are any duplicate fonts in multiple formats.
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<h2>Creating your own fonts</h2>
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Given the variety of fonts available, why would you need to create yet another?<BR>
<ul><li>You’d like the font slightly bolder, or it doesn’t have an italic form or the accented characters you need</li>
<li>A job requires a range of small logos that would be more manageable set as <BR>
characters rather than as anchored picture boxes</li>
<li>A client wants their own custom-made font as part of their house style</li></ul>
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<h2>Choosing font-creation software</h2>
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There are many applications available that combine the functions of drawing programs with specialized functions that apply set widths, kerning, and hinting before creating the actual font. 
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<ul><li>If you are a casual user, still running OS 9.2, Macromedia’s Fontographer is a good choice</li>
<li>For inexpensive shareware, try Font Creator from High Logic</li> <BR>
<li>If you are running Mac OS X and want to develop professional-quality fonts, <BR>
Pyrus’ FontLab will ultimately reward your greater investment of time and money</li></ul>
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<h2>Font management software</h2>
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On a Windows computer, fonts are installed simply by moving font files to the special Fonts control panel folder. Under Mac OS X, however, fonts can be installed to any of several different places:
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<ul><li>/Library/Fonts: the system-wide font library</li>
<li>/Users/Home/Library/Fonts: your personal font library</li>
<li>/System Folder/Fonts: fonts for the Classic environment</li>
<li>/Network/Library/Fonts: if you are running a Mac OS X server</li>
<li>/System/Library/Fonts: the system software fonts (do not touch these) </li></ul>
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Additionally, some programs may install their own fonts and keep them within that program’s own folder or in the Application Support folder in the system-wide Library folder.
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Mac OS X 10.3 includes Font Book, a simple utility that lets you sort out the fonts in the first three folders in the list above, resolve duplicates, print font sample sheets, and so on.
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When dealing with a very large number of fonts, perhaps for different clients and design tasks, you are likely to need a more robust font manager whether you are working on a Windows or Mac computer. 
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Utilities such as Extensis Suitcase and Font Reserve let you hunt throughout your entire system for fonts, then arrange them in groups for convenience, deactivating fonts you are not using on a particular job and thereby saving memory and speeding up your computer. These programs can also automatically load inactive fonts when you open a document that requires them.
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Prior to Windows 2000 and Mac OS X, both platforms required Adobe Type Manager to install and print correctly from Type 1 fonts. Deluxe and Reunion editions of this utility can also handle font grouping and quick loading of inactive fonts, but the Adobe Type Manager product line-up is no longer current and support is increasingly limited.
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