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The trouble with fonts, and how Universal Type Server can save you from them

There’s more to fonts than just keeping up with the latest trends – from making sure everyone is working with the same fonts, to avoiding any legal issues around licensing. We took a look at some of the major issues that effect designers when it comes to font management and how Extensis Universal Type Server (UTS) can help cure those font-induced headaches. UTS specialist Chris Stevens also takes us through the options for individuals and teams, to make sure you get the best font management for your workflow.


Font issues facing creatives

“To first be aware of the value of your fonts, you first need to be aware of the problems that fonts can cause,” says Chris. In order to maximise your font collections to make sure you’re getting the most out of them, there are a few key issues that need to be addressed:

Missing fonts. If a client or colleague sends you a Creative Cloud document they have created using fonts you don’t have, you will be asked to install the font yourself – and you might not know where to download it. Or you might receive a project for review and realise that a team member has been using the wrong font, and the whole thing needs changing.

Font discrepancies. The font you have is not exactly the same as the one used in the document, perhaps because it uses a different boundary or is a slightly different version (for example bold or light). Using a different font might cause undetected reflow issues or other problems further down the line.

Font collection chaos. As different designers need to access different fonts, depending on the campaigns of clients they’re working with, it can cause significant management issues. If fonts are freely available on a server for individuals to download onto their own machines, it allows a lot of room for error and inconsistency – especially if users don’t follow the instructions.

Wasted time. Searching for fonts ad hoc can waste a lot of time – you’ll need to check your document to see if you’re missing any fonts, search through external resources for the right ones, sort out purchasing or licensing them, and switch back and forth between your applications.

Poor visibility, unnecessary costs. Without a centralised platform for managing fonts, managers and lead creatives have no way to see which fonts are being used most regularly, and which fonts (that you’ve spent money on) are not being used. You could be missing out on the full potential your licences if you can’t see what is and isn’t being utilised.

Not quite legal? Speaking of licences, you also need to be able to keep a track of who in your team is using what fonts, and for what reason. Otherwise you run the risk of not knowing which fonts are licensed and for what purpose – potentially leading to some tricky legal issues.


How Extensis UTS can help

Extensis UTS is a centralised source for all of your font resources, including Adobe Fonts (included in your Creative Cloud subscription), Google Fonts and more. It’s simple to set up and maintain, so even if your creative team manager isn’t as experienced with font management software, you can get up and running quickly and easily. Chris tells us the software “works seamlessly with your professional tools. It’s regularly updated to keep pace with the latest applications, such as Adobe Creative Cloud and the operating systems of macOS and Windows.” Here’s how it can help solve your font management nightmares:

Easy to find fonts. Collections are stored in a centralised, secure location, with visual previews, powerful search tools and QuickMatch to find similar fonts within your collection. The patented Font Sense technology guarantees that your users are always using the correct fonts.

Eliminate discrepancies. Automatically distribute fonts to your teams’ machines, so they can easily browse, compare, search and activate your approved fonts whenever they need them. Creative leads can also manage users through LDAP integration using Active Directory.

Font collection control. You can set robust permissions to dictate who has access to add, remove, export and output fonts, eliminating the risk of rogue fonts making their way into your workflow without approval from an administrator.

Save time. Font auto-activation plug-ins scan your document for required fonts and activates the fonts you need, when you need them. If you’re using Adobe Creative Cloud, font panels bring your entire collection into a searchable list, so no more switching back and forth between your font manager and creative applications. 

Maintain visibility, reduce costs. Easy to understand reports mean that you can understand what fonts your teams are (or aren’t) using, with quantifiable data to support your licensing decisions and identify areas where you could be saving money.

Keep it legal. Make sure your users have legal access to the fonts they need to work with to produce their best work, and keep unlicensed fonts out. You can also understand everything about your font requirements and usage to protect yourself from costly lawsuits.


What UTS solutions are available?

Depending on your business and workflow, there will be an Extensis UTS solution that’s best suited to you and your users. “For individuals, Suitcase Fusion is our most widely recognised and popular product,” says Chris. “It can be used by each user on up to two machines, and can sync fonts automatically to the Extensis Cloud with our TypeSync technology, so that the same fonts can be with you where you need them.

“With Suitcase TeamSync, users still use Suitcase Fusion as the interface to their fonts, but it allows an administrator to sync up fonts to the cloud, centralising the font collection, and enabling easy shared access across the team.”

If you need something with more granular control, such as the ability to only allow certain users access to approved fonts, Universal Type Server is Extensis’s “most robust workgroup font management solution,” according to Chris. “Unlike TeamSync, it can do much more than simply distribute fonts to a team. It can be installed on servers inside your network, or on a cloud-based service such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or any other cloud server system… As fonts are added, they’re scanned for corruption and duplication, utilising FontSense so that each unique font is given a FontSense ID, and font storage is optimised as multiple copies are not stored for the exact same font.”

See the below chart for the full features of each option available.


Ready to revolutionise the way you manage your fonts? Check out Extensis Universal Type Server in our store, or for more information get in touch with our friendly sales team on 03332 409 204, or email For all the latest news, trends and insights, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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