Organizing Fonts in Groups

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crosskirill
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Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:07 pm

Organizing Fonts in Groups

Post by crosskirill » Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:07 pm

Hello,

I am now test using MainType. I have a big font library, stored on a separate hard disk and want to be able quickly install and uninstall fonts for different projects, without copying them (e.g. just linking). Using "Groups" is a nice idea - however i miss two things: firstly, I would like to see on a folder icon, if a group is fully or partly installed. "Status" just gives an immediate feedback, but remains empty, when the program is restarted. Stats something like this for each folder may be useful: Count XX fonts, Installed YY, Loaded ZZ.

And secondly I wonder, why do you have to create a link file for each linked font? If I have font groups consisting of hundreds or thousands of fonts, as many small link files will be created. If you have to store links somewhere, why not in some XML-line single file (or file per group)?

Also, I have missed some tool for finding fonts (also duplicates, corrupted etc.) as I have seen in Font Expert 2005.

I was also wondering for the reason, why building op of the list of active fonts (I have about 2500 active at the moment) was so slow, also in comparison with othe font management software.

I would be glad to hae a solution for things discribed above, all in all is MainType a good piece ;)

Erwin Denissen
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Post by Erwin Denissen » Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:00 pm

Hi crosskirill,

Thanks for your suggestions.

Real-time status information for all groups would result in a huge performance penalty, rewriting the software to work with a database (as requested in another post) might overcome that problem, but that's still on the to-do list.

MainType uses the standard Windows explorer shortcuts, this way you can also add fonts to groups through Windows explorer, or any other file management software.

Corrupt fonts will be marked as such in MainType, but there is no special search tool for both corrupt and duplicate fonts. I have it on the to-do list.

Maybe most of the fonts you've installed are on a network drive. Anyway, I have some ideas for performance improvements on the to-do list.
Erwin Denissen
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distill
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Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:20 pm

Post by distill » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:35 pm

I like it very much that fonts are actually moved to folders. This way I can copy all the fonts easily to another computer while maintaining the categories easily. I wouldn't want a database system which would destroy this functionality. However, the database could just be a very simple text file containing all the font names in the Groups. The text file would also contain the install/uninstall status of each font. That way the status would be always realtime without any delays.

In other words, I really miss the functionality from Extensis Suitcase, where the group status (installed/uninstalled/partially installed) is shown in "realtime". Also it would be great if there was a simple icon (for example green dot) in addition to the Font Status column. That would be faster to read than a text (green dot = installed, gray dot = partially installed [on groups, not valid for the font list], nothing = not installed). The small on the font icon is a good indicator as well, but it is so small that it's not easy to see.

Now I have to manually uninstall all group items when I want to make sure that nothing is installed. That's the only way, since it doesn't really tell that information without manually going through all fonts.

Thank you!

jaseinatl
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:38 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Organizing Fonts in Groups

Post by jaseinatl » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:54 pm

What would be ideal from my point of view would be a small, but integrated relational database that would allow modular categorization of fonts using tags. In other words, it would be nice to have all "fancy" fonts tagged and all "serif" fonts tagged. Then, if I was looking for a "Fancy Serif" font, I'd search by tag. This would of course be a different concept than "Groups" which would allow non-similar, but functionally related fonts that are useful for a project (i.e. a body copy font, headline font, etc. for a newsletter would be one group and a display font and oldstyle font grouped for a greeting card)

Of course, the absolute end-all solution that would make MainType the only type management app worth having (which, in my opinion it is already) would be to somehow integrate the database used at Find-a-Font. They have categorized tons and tons of fonts and you can isolate just the font you want by answering a bunch of questions.

But what I think is most important about this concept is that it should be a community effort. If I go through my collection of fonts acquired over the last 20 years and categorize them neatly by serif, sans serif, display, fancy, handwriting, etc. etc. it would be cool to be able to publish my settings on the web so other people could benefit from it. In turn, they could add to the list or modify the list and, like wikipedia, we could create a huge public resource that featured MainType as the front end. It could even keep track of "lookalike" fonts and have advanced information aggregated from font sites like DaFont .

I would be glad to help if this sounds like a project you'd consider. Email me and I can send some more ideas along this line.

Best wishes, thanks for a great app!

Jase

Dave Crosby
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Re: Organizing Fonts in Groups

Post by Dave Crosby » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:14 pm

jaseinatl wrote:What would be ideal from my point of view would be a small, but integrated relational database that would allow modular categorization of fonts using tags. In other words, it would be nice to have all "fancy" fonts tagged and all "serif" fonts tagged. Then, if I was looking for a "Fancy Serif" font, I'd search by tag. This would of course be a different concept than "Groups" which would allow non-similar, but functionally related fonts that are useful for a project (i.e. a body copy font, headline font, etc. for a newsletter would be one group and a display font and oldstyle font grouped for a greeting card)
. . .
Jase
Have you considered using the Panose Column?
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=941
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jaseinatl
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Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Organizing Fonts in Groups

Post by jaseinatl » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:06 pm

Though I read your post on Panose and I have to say that I admire and appreciate your generosity in sharing such great information in such great detail, I'm afraid that Panose misses the mark for me in a number of aspects.

I love a system that provides a complex numerical identification algorithm, be it for fonts or for hashing data in a table, but it has such a steep learning curve that you really have to be committed to learning the system. With that regard, I find that I am only committed to learning a system that is either fun and enjoyable to learn or that provides a significant advantage to having learned it. That is to say that if I am going to invest the time to figure out the Panose system, I expect that I'll enjoy it or that it will become a key part of my design ritual. I expect that my investment will offer equal or better returns--I invest my time in it; it makes my life better.

But then there's the rub: if you derive a nomenclature for categorizing an object or group of objects, those rules have to be explicit and any inconsistency needs to be addressed with caution in order to depend on it. In other words, if Panose leaves room for interpretation (which it sounds like it handles much better than most demonstrative nomenclatures), than it risks being corruptable. I am not going to search my 3 Tb drive array of graphic resources for all of my fonts that I have acquired and then load each one into Font Creator (another absolutely brilliant and wonderful application, btw) so that I can determine it's Panose description based on my interpretation of it's appearance. I'd be dead by the time I got to the C's (skipping all fonts that start with numbers, for example). An explicit system like Panose requires 100% involvement and 100% adherence to the standard in order to be truly useful and reliable. At least half of my fonts are missing Panose classifications and even then, if I look up similar fonts to Utopia, based on Panose, the tiny result list I get in return makes it unusable -- whether it's because the Panose classification is missing from my font meta data or just because the Panose number didn't match.

But this is where the beauty of the web and the communal pool of knowledge comes in. If you allow fonts to be categorized into explicit collections that are defined by the public and then make those definitions editable by the public, eventually you will solidify a simple, fun, community-involved means of classifying fonts. Just like anyone can edit almost any article on Wikipedia, anyone would be able to tag or label any font accordingly. Then, after a while you would see that 5000 people tagged Times New Roman as "serif" and "body copy" and three idiots intentionally misclassified it as "display" or "ornamental". Set you filters to download the entire classification of fonts that have 1000 or more agreed tags and run a comparison of your font resources and voila! you have a fuzzy-logic nearly error-proof means of categorizing your fonts. Now go in and add your own tags to fonts (like "gross", for example or "kockoff" or "groovy") and fix a couple that you disagree with (like some block serif fonts that are mislabeled as slab serifs) and upload your tags. If everyone's favorite font management program participated in this system, you would quickly have an amazing database of really great information from every possible perspective. Then you only have to worry about the fonts that you use, but you have access to an entirely new world of fonts with similar attributes. Ideally, someone would add Panose tags to the mix for those who have invested the time in the Panose system

Basically, what I would love to see is a community-involved mechanism that trades a degree of technicality or detail for the utility of communal agreement; a system that would be simpler to use than Panose, that would be customizable for individual preference and that would provide another more comprehensive algorithm to sort fonts. It needs to be visual, creative, and easy to derive without any references. It would be kind of like a font version of "ID3" tags, but it would be more like Deli.cio.us or Wikipedia and it would have to be integrated into an app like MainType. Perhaps the next version of MainType would allow a "plugin" architecture that would allow third-party plugins to expand it. Is that too much to ask? LOL.

If I sound really serious, please know that it is my writing style and not my intent. I really have a great deal of appreciation for Main Type and Font Creator and although I don't know if you are involed with High Logic or not, I have a great deal of admiration for you and your generosity, Dave Crosby. Thanks for your reply and for opening up the Panose system to me.

Best wishes,

jase

Dave Crosby
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Re: Organizing Fonts in Groups

Post by Dave Crosby » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:01 pm

If I sound really serious, please know that it is my writing style and not my intent. I really have a great deal of appreciation for Main Type and Font Creator and although I don't know if you are involed with High Logic or not, I have a great deal of admiration for you and your generosity, Dave Crosby. Thanks for your reply and for opening up the Panose system to me.
Thanks Jase,

No, I'm just a guy that wanted to make ONE font back in 2004 and have been hooked ever since.
Erwin is an amazing programmer and over the years has become a wonderful long distance friend.

Dick Pape (Probably has more fonts than you do - correspond with him if you REALLY want to organize your fonts!) had purchased FC some months before me, and we stumbled upon Panose about the same time and have been trying to make sense of it. Most of the details really don't matter that much to me.

Get the first three numbers straight and move the Panose column to the front and you can quickly find the font style easier and faster than any other system I know of.

All I did was set up a Font Folder with a sub folder labeled Panose with sub folders for the first two digits and just visually tossed in the fonts I really like.
PanGlance8x11.jpg
PanGlance8x11.jpg (44.71 KiB) Viewed 4439 times
Perhaps some day I'll take time to correct the Panose numbers, but for now I can find the font I want for most projects.

EDIT: You have convinced me I need to update the above chart and make that an early part of the tutorial. Thanks for that!
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