ForeverJoy Designs

Organizing Fonts | How I Learned to Herd my Cats

It should come as no surprise that I am a huge font geek.  I can honestly say that I can get lost on font and typophile sites with the same joyful abandon that I click around Pinterest. One font can launch a new designs as easily as a beautiful color pallet.   And so, it follows, I have about 1500 of these crazy cats romping around my hard drive. Considering that I have several hundred dollars invested in the ones I use commercially  it’s really important that they do not drop off the radar when I have my drawing board open.  But, if you’re like me, it is a huge buzz kill to scroll down that long list of fonts when you have a layout open.

It’s tiny- and its tedious.  Now, here’s a huge disclaimer- as much of a geek that I am- I am not the savviest tech-chick.  Heck, it wasn’t until about 3 months ago that I really got a handle on what meta-data is and why in the world one might even want it in their photos! I have a PC and run windows 7- so a lot of the cool Mac tools are just out of the question for me.  But I set out in the beginning of this month with a nice long list of organizational To-dos, and one of them was to herd those cats I call fonts into some semblance of order- I needed to make them easily searchable- and, um, I didn’t want to pay a cent for it.  (Keeping more moolah in my pocket is also high on that list!)
So, I Googled around a bit, searching for “font management”,  read a bunch of forums and reviews- downloaded a few duds, and finally came across one that really worked nicely for me.  (BTW- this is just me sharing my experience- I’m not getting compensated in any way other than the fact that it has made my life a little easier 😉 But I found a neat free (yay!)  program called Nexus Font- I downloaded it from CNET- first using their downloader – which spammed me with ads and junk- then I freaked a bit, deleted it and tried the direct CNET download and things went well – you can also find it here at Xiles .  What’s awesome is that you can not only see all your fonts nice and big- and have them display the text you’d like- but you can also make a set of your favorite fonts!  It takes about a Cuppa Joe’s amount of time to do this at first- but it is well worth it.  It turns out- I have about 200 favorite fonts-  so seeing those all at once, as opposed to scrolling thru 1500 is a BIG time saver for me.  I also made a set of Commercial Fonts- to help in the question of whether I have permission to use a font commercially.  The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is to create your set BEFORE you start selecting what needs to go into it.  That is, make a “Favorite for Scrapping ” set first  then start selecting what you’d like to go there.  I learned this the hard way 😉 They have a great help forum HERE.
Maybe I’m the last one to this organizational party- and you all have this baby already- but maybe there are a few of you wresting with roaming fonts like I was- hope this helps a bit~ Happy Herding!

 

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Danesa
    January 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Oh! My! Font! This will be soooo valuable. I must do this tip THIS week. My kitties are all scrambling around hopelessly and I do hesitate to sit in my rocker, for fear of rockin' on their tails, at times. This is sahweeeeeet!!! Thank you Renne for herding your cats so it inspires me to do the same. Happy rockin' days ahead!

  • Reply
    Danesa
    January 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Oh! My! Font! This will be soooo valuable. I must do this tip THIS week. My kitties are all scrambling around hopelessly and I do hesitate to sit in my rocker, for fear of rockin' on their tails, at times. This is sahweeeeeet!!! Thank you Renne for herding your cats so it inspires me to do the same. Happy rockin' days ahead!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    January 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Wow this is cool. I too like fonts, not as many as you, as I only have approx. 600 but I just downloaded this and was playing around too cool! I've also tried other font managers and they didn't work but I think this might. Thanks so much for being a guinea pig (or would that be cat hearder?) and sharing this neat program with us!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    January 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Wow this is cool. I too like fonts, not as many as you, as I only have approx. 600 but I just downloaded this and was playing around too cool! I've also tried other font managers and they didn't work but I think this might. Thanks so much for being a guinea pig (or would that be cat hearder?) and sharing this neat program with us!

  • Reply
    Tink
    January 26, 2013 at 6:08 am

    I'm one of those mac geeks and I also have a nice collection. I started my graphic design home office many moons ago and even majored in Typography so I have collected a few here and there 😉 I use Font Explorer X Pro for Mac, it's not free but I thought hey, I invested a lot in these fonts they deserve a good manager. Lord forbid I use software that somehow corrupt them or so. Of course I do have a back-up but the mess is not pretty. If there was a free alternative I would use it, Apple makes a nice font manager that comes with your mac but I want to look at fonts that I do not have installed. Installing many fonts slows down my Photoshop so a program that lets you look at fonts on your EHD and create sets without being installed that I can load with the click of a mouse is essential for me.
    I no longer work as a designer but treasure my fonts, fonts face books and catalogs. I truly enjoy sites such as creativemarket.com(no monetary interest!) where talented new designers sell there work from icons to fonts. My last addition that I purchased for $5 was Retro Town. Can't beat that price 😉
    Of course I LOVE my Dutch designers. Holland always has been a gold mine wrt to typography. I'm original from Holland and when I went to the academy of arts I had to learn how to draw fonts by hand. An art that is almost totally disappeared unfortunately. I did an internship at the State printing house that still used lead setters and also digital printers but I was in awe by the large type setter! I learned so much about kerning and lead etc. there. Things that you can only learn is you draw by hand. Ah…. great memories. maybe I should scrap a page about it 😉

    Do you wanna compare notes/fonts? What is your top 10 list or larger if top 10 is too difficult 😉

  • Reply
    Tink
    January 26, 2013 at 6:08 am

    I'm one of those mac geeks and I also have a nice collection. I started my graphic design home office many moons ago and even majored in Typography so I have collected a few here and there 😉 I use Font Explorer X Pro for Mac, it's not free but I thought hey, I invested a lot in these fonts they deserve a good manager. Lord forbid I use software that somehow corrupt them or so. Of course I do have a back-up but the mess is not pretty. If there was a free alternative I would use it, Apple makes a nice font manager that comes with your mac but I want to look at fonts that I do not have installed. Installing many fonts slows down my Photoshop so a program that lets you look at fonts on your EHD and create sets without being installed that I can load with the click of a mouse is essential for me.
    I no longer work as a designer but treasure my fonts, fonts face books and catalogs. I truly enjoy sites such as creativemarket.com(no monetary interest!) where talented new designers sell there work from icons to fonts. My last addition that I purchased for $5 was Retro Town. Can't beat that price 😉
    Of course I LOVE my Dutch designers. Holland always has been a gold mine wrt to typography. I'm original from Holland and when I went to the academy of arts I had to learn how to draw fonts by hand. An art that is almost totally disappeared unfortunately. I did an internship at the State printing house that still used lead setters and also digital printers but I was in awe by the large type setter! I learned so much about kerning and lead etc. there. Things that you can only learn is you draw by hand. Ah…. great memories. maybe I should scrap a page about it 😉

    Do you wanna compare notes/fonts? What is your top 10 list or larger if top 10 is too difficult 😉

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