Too many fonts, OSX Mavericks edtion
March 9, 2014 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Macbook Pro, running Mavericks. I was a bad, bad girl and installed way too many fonts (4000+) by accident.

Is there a way to manage a large amount of fonts so that the following can happen:

1) My font lists are consistent between applications ex: MS Word does not have the complete list of computer and user fonts;

2) See the library of fonts, in some manner, but not suffer scrolling death while choosing a font between InDesign, Word or any other application?

3) Have a particular set of fonts for one application vs. another? In an ideal world I would have the Fun font collection not part of the complete dropdown or even have the fun fonts unless needed in MS Word.

I have resolved duplicates with Font Book (automatic) but still suffer inconsistency between applications with typefaces missing from larger groups e.g., frutiger bold but no frutiger book

I am willing to consider a third party management system if it helps with problem 1 & 2 and am willing to start "fresh" by doing a controlled nuke of various font folders.

I have read this article on OSX Font Management form JKL Studios.

If it makes a difference, I have CS 6 installed and Office 2011 on the OSX side of my partition.

I am a magpie of free stuff. Help me stay organized.
posted by jadepearl to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Yours is not an unfamiliar problem to designers, so don't feel bad. Here's my solution to the same problem:

1) limit the fonts in the /Library/Fonts folder to just the lean and mean everydays (your Helveticas, your Garamonds, your Times New Romans etc.).

2) Load any 3rd party font management software (FMS). I use Extensis Suitcase Fusion but there are others out there. Linotype used to have a free application that many people loved.

3) Load everything else into your FMS and never look back. Your life just got much easier for only 50 bucks (or less).

posted by Jamesonian at 3:20 PM on March 9, 2014

Sigh. I totally relate.

Jamesonian laid out some good advice. Get some font management software. Font Book ain't going to cut it at your level. Pair your /Library/Fonts down to some basics. Put everything else into the hands of your font management software.

From now on, your new paradigm of choosing fonts isn't scrolling through the font list in INDD or Word, it's popping open your font manager, using sample text previews, and selecting a few fonts to activate. You can create different lists/groupings in your FMS to make this go easier, though it's quite a chore. You might start by organizing by client or project. Organizing by mood/basic characteristics would probably be ideal. Organize by foundry or designer for super nerd-cred.

Eventually, you'll settle on a few base choices, know them by name, and leave the fishing expeditions for rare or tricky circumstances.

Packaged INDD files and Illustrator files now read from the packaged font folder without installing them locally (score!). Working with unpackaged legacy/outside files will activate the fonts if you have them.

Now, as for missing faces, you might be dealing with old or bad fonts. Right click to reveal in finder, and google the file extension to figure out what you're dealing with. I would seriously consider nuking everything that isn't an OpenType file. Fucked up font suitcases are a major stressor in my life, and something as a 28 year-old designer I was promised wouldn't be in my future—that it was a battle settled by designers past. I was lied to. You were lied to. I would wage a global extermination on old fonts if, were it feasible, to save future generations.
posted by fontophilic at 8:31 AM on March 10, 2014

While looking up Font Management Systems, I was a bit overwhelmed. Besides Suitcase, are there any others people want to recommend? The pricing is coming in at ~$100 so want to do this well so my new path, as suggested above, goes smooth. Thanks.
posted by jadepearl at 12:02 PM on March 10, 2014

I don't have that many fonts installed, but I also don't use Suitcase. I just manually disable the font collections in Font Book that I don't use frequently, and turn them on when I need them.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:08 PM on March 10, 2014

I'm not a professional graphics person, but I do have a bunch of fonts on my Mac. I paid $10 for Fontcase, a font management application, and so far, for my basic needs, it's working out OK. Maybe that's easier to stomach. I was willing to lose $10 on a complete failure, but wasn't willing to lose $100.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:12 PM on March 11, 2014

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