Managing your team’s fonts can often feel like herding cats. They’re prone to wander off of their own volition, they can be expensive and, crucially, you need them far more than they need you.
Rather than manually keeping track of the many complex licensing terms of all your typefaces (a massive chore), a font management system helps you know which fonts you’ve bought legally, and what you’re allowed to do with them commercially, whether that’s for digital, print or apps. Our in-house design team use Extensis Suitcase Fusion to manage all their fonts and make auditing easy, ensuring fonts are only used where they’re supposed to be as dictated by their licence terms.
Recently, Extensis released Suitcase TeamSync, which extends Suitcase Fusion’s capabilities with cloud-hosted font sharing. That means it’s now far easier to sync up and share fonts across your teams, giving access to specific fonts they need based on what project they’re working on. Whether that’s a local system font, or one from a third-party such as Google Fonts, Adobe Fonts or SkyFonts. For example, we let our business managers use much-loved brand font Proxima Nova from Adobe Fonts so that their client presentations stick to our brand style guide.
We corralled a couple of our design team to explain how Extensis Suitcase Fusion, and in particular the new Suitcase TeamSync, is benefiting their workflow.
Like a well-practised synth duo, Senior Designer Liana and Graphic Designer and Videographer Simon agree on the same notes around organisation. “For me the most useful aspect of Suitcase Fusion is being able to sort fonts into sets that have been chosen for use on certain projects, or are similar in style, which speeds up browsing and selecting fonts dramatically,” Simon says. “You can even select a document you’re working on and automatically create a group out of the fonts it uses.”
Liana concurs: “The great thing about Extensis is that you can group and organise your fonts without the fear of deleting them off your local font library. Often I know the type of font I want to use, such as hand-lettered or slab serif, but Suitcase Fusion makes it so quick and easy to filter these, so it takes me half the time to browse for my ideal font.
“In one of my recent projects, I’ve been able to group fonts used for each audience we market to, so there’s no chance of fonts creeping in on the wrong page.”
This also makes changing a font across multiple documents a cinch, whether that’s through an error with the font, or feedback from a particularly font-obsessed client. “Getting a dreaded missing font error in Adobe InDesign CC would have used to mean going and finding each individual font,” Liana says. “But with Suitcase Fusion enabled, a popup automatically suggests possible replacements in order of best match first, which makes the whole process a lot quicker.
“If for whatever reason I had a series of work featuring a font that the client didn’t like, I can click on InDesign in Document Tracking, type the font name into the quick find search bar and then Suitcase Fusion will show me all the files that feature that particular font. I can then easily nip in and amend each document that shows up in the results.”
Liana is really impressed with Suitcase Fusion’s TypeSync and FontDoctor features too. “TypeSync allows me to save my fonts and font collections automatically so I can access them from work and at home, which is really useful and one less thing to worry about if I’m not in the office. It’s also great to have the peace of mind when you add a font to the library, as it detects any fonts that may be corrupted or have issues. FontDoctor is a great free tool that comes with Suitcase Fusion, and it give us the extra security that all the fonts we’re importing are not damaged and good to use, and also makes us aware of any old versions that may have been downloaded a few years – or decades – ago.”
So how is cloud-hosted font sharing with Suitcase TeamSync improving the team’s workflow? Simon points to how it makes it quick and easy for the team to manage which users have access to fonts. “Because fonts are all accessible through the cloud, there’s no more emailing round font files or having to search the server and install them manually,” he says. “Integration with Creative Cloud and other providers like Google Fonts means that all of our fonts can be browsed in one place too, with all the previews, properties and metadata readable in one place.
And it’s not just for huge multinational agencies either – Suitcase TeamSync gives everyone from your in-house team, to freelancers, to publishers, access to the specific fonts they need. Simon explains: “If there was a non-Adobe font used for a campaign that I had downloaded but someone else needed to use, being able to tick a box enabling them to use it in their apps is great, compared to me searching for the file, telling them where it is or emailing it, and them having to open and install it. It’s a massive timesaver if a team of 50 all suddenly need a new font, but that really benefits smaller groups too.”
If you’d like to be a master typeface wrangler and lasso those feline-like fonts, talk to us about Extensis Suitcase Fusion or Suitcase TeamSync.
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