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Various improvements

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:21 pm
by StefanKrapf
I have some things in MainType where I think that these could be improved:

1. The way fonts can be loaded
It's about the buttons that allow you to install or load fonts.
I don't find the terms "Install" and "Load" very self-explanatory.
I would find "Temporary (Load)" and "Permanent (Load)" much better.
Because when I read Install and Load, I always think that the font might be copied into the Windows font folder during installation and not during loading?!
It always confuses me and I have to study the manual again, where I see that it is ultimately nothing but temporary and permanent.
You might want to stand out from other font managers, but I think it has disadvantages because it makes people confused.
But what is the same with MainType as with Suitcase, for example, are the blue and green circles on the fonts, which tells you whether a font is temporary or permanent.
I think this is very good, but unfortunately the buttons at the top of the toolbar do not match these round color indicators at all.
Neither in colour nor in shape.
It would be great if you could adjust the buttons at the top toolbar so that they fit together better.
As in Suitcase, I find it simple and ingenious. You can combine an additional small font icon (e.g. "Aa" or the "F" of the MainType icon) with the round color icons, so that it doesn't look exactly the same as in Suitcase... ;-)
Here are two suggestions, whereas I like the second one better:
new font activation icons 01.png
new font activation icons 01.png (28.98 KiB) Viewed 2293 times
new font activation icons 02.png
new font activation icons 02.png (28.16 KiB) Viewed 2293 times
It would also be very useful if you could activate fonts temporarily with the mouse. For example, if you press the control key and at the same time click at the round color indicator with the mouse.
Or if there was an additional setting where you could choose whether a font is loaded permanently or only temporarily by default when you simply click on it.
2. Undo function
Then it would also be very practical if there were an undo function where you can undo the last steps.
For example, if you are in the list of active fonts and accidentally deactivate a font, you will not see it again. Then you have to search for it with great effort (if you have many fonts and many places/folders with it) and activate it again.
With the undo function this would be much easier.

3. Displayed font in the family grouping
When displaying with family grouping, it would be great if you could choose which main font style is displayed. For example Bold, Italic, Medium, Black etc.
Here I made a visualisation too with a pulldown menu "Light":
family-grouping-font.png (11.17 KiB) Viewed 2021 times

4. Speed of viewing fonts
The speed of the software is already very good, but it would be great if the software would be proactive when scrolling. This means that the cache for the next fonts is already built up in the background, so that the font previews are not built up only when I display the next page with fonts. If I have many fonts, it is very important that I can scroll quickly.

5. More options for favorite markers
At the moment I can create a virtual group of my favorite fonts for a project, for example. This is ok.
But I would like even more flexibility in this area.
I have about 10'000 fonts, and when I am looking for a font for a project, it would be great if I had more possibilities to mark a font as a favorite. It would be great if this could be done not only with a button but also with a shortcut. The easiest way would be, for example, the space bar. Press = activate, press again = deactivate again.
This would then activate a red tick/indicator at the font:
red indicator.png
red indicator.png (556 Bytes) Viewed 2293 times
To view my project favorites with the current virtual folders, I have to click on the corresponding virtual folder. But the problem with this is that firstly I have to do this with the mouse, which takes longer, and secondly I am always at the top of the font list after changing the view or folder. This is very tedious and doesn't allow for fluent working.
If this marking of favorites could happen directly in the same view, it would be a big advantage.
To display only the Favourites, you could press Control+Space, and then you would only see the Favourites in the view/folder you are currently in. As soon as you press Control+Space again, you would see all fonts again. The most important thing is that you would then be at the same position in the font list again, so that you don't have to start from the top of the list again and until you see the last viewed font in the list again.

If we think a little further, most graphic designers will probably work on several projects next to each other, so not always one at a time. This means it would be very practical if you had not only ONE favorite indicator available, but maybe somehow a number as identification in addition to the indicator. For example indicator no. 1 for project 1 and indicator 2 for project 2 and so on. - up to 9 numbers.
Because if I only have one indicator available, I can only mark favorites for one project. If I have a new project, I would theoretically have to remove all hooks for all fonts and then start all over again for the new project. So if I have several projects at the same time, this will quickly become difficult or useless. For a font, several hooks could be assigned in parallel.
If an entire family (in the family grouping) will be marked with such indicators, the indicator would simply be assigned to all fonts in that family.
Sure, I can create virtual folders again, but this is more tedious and I always fall back to the first font in the list every time I change the folders, as described above.

However, if there would be up to 9 such indicators, you would have to rethink the key combinations for them as well. Obvious would be e.g. Control+1, 2, 3 etc. for the indicators on/off. Then you would have to use Control+Shift+Number to display ONLY the fonts marked in this way. But pressing Ctrl+Number is more tedious than just pressing the space bar. If you have to mark a lot of fonts, you will notice it in your fingers.
Therefore I would suggest that you could choose directly on the main program interface via a menu or radio buttons for which indicator number the space bar is working right now.
Then you could also use Control+space again for the display of ONLY the marked fonts, which would simply display the same number of indicators as selected in the menu in the main UI.
But it is always important that when you deactivate the view in the list you get back to where you were last, so that you don't have to scroll down again.

For this extended idea for project favorites I created the following visualization:
project-numbers.png (72.68 KiB) Viewed 2021 times

I would found it important that it would be possible to mark even hole families as favorites, not only single fonts.
And I think it would be important too that the favorite indicators 1-9 and even the rating stars would be visible not only if the font/family is selected, but also if there is nothing selected, because now, it is only possible to give a star rating, if the font is selected. Otherwise it would be possible everytime you hover with the mouse over the icons.
A visually visible hover effect on both favorite numbers/stars would be even nice, because with this it's clearer whats going on.
Then I found it important that ALL favorite numbers (the not activated gray ones) would be visible at ALL the times, and not only the selected (and colored) ones (in the screenshot e.g. the three green "3"). Because then the same numbers would be visible in the same column, and with this you could see much easier which fonts do have the same number.

For the function that would select which favorite number would be activated with the space bar, I have made another visualization here:
family-grouping-font-space-bar.png (13.43 KiB) Viewed 2021 times

Of course, it should also be possible to assign such a favorite number by clicking on the gray numbers with the mouse, not only via the keyboard.
If you want, you could also save such a indication of fonts by a number as a virtual folder and vice versa. There would be no limits.
Unless you would make the function so that there are not numbers from 1-9, but that a font is added directly to a virtual folder with the space bar. You would then simply have to choose to which folder the font would be assigned. This assignment could also be done directly in the virtual folder view with the context menu on the corresponding virtual folder and could then be made visible with an icon on the virtual folder.
The disadvantage would be that this would not allow you to make this favorite visible in a compact space in the Font List, because the numbers 1-9 are of course very short, but a virtual folder name is probably much longer.
Unless you could assign such a number to almost every virtual folder, that would be a possibility again.
Then you could also display this number as an icon for the corresponding virtual folder in the list of virtual folders:
virtual-folders.png (16.07 KiB) Viewed 2021 times

6. Drag & Drop of families
Drag & Drop of a complete family into a virtual folder does not work, only with single or multiple fonts selected.

7. Save last state of the Software
If you close the program and restart it, it would be great if the last view would be saved, e.g. the last viewed virtual folder etc.
Now the active fonts are displayed each time I start the software.
It would even be handy to keep the scroll position in the current list so that you can pick up where you left off.

8. Merging panels "Views" and "Groups"
Now there are two panels "Views" and "Groups". I think this could be done better, you could merge these two panels from my point of view and then make supertitles similar to Suitcase: "Predefined Views", "Custom Views", "Folders", "Virtual Folders".
First of all, in the current "Groups" panel, physical folders and virtual folders are mixed. This does not contribute to the clarity and I have to study sometimes, which is the difference here.
In Suitcase, however, it is very clear.
In MainType there is also the disadvantage that when I work with the tab key, when I switch from the "Views" panel to another one like "Groups" in the list window, I immediately see different fonts. But I do not want that.
Theoretically, I can use the Tab key to switch to all important panels - but unfortunately only theoretically, because some panels that are not relevant for me and some panels are not cycled through. Concretely: currently, the panels are cycled through in this order (I have certain panels as floating panels, otherwise maybe more would be cycled through?) Views, Fonts Tags, Tag Search, List View, the font size field in List View, Groups and then Views again...
So when I return to the List View, I don't see any more fonts because the previously activated panel was "Tag Search" and nothing was selected there.
But I want to see the last fonts that were displayed when the List View panel was still active (i.e. before I started to tab through)!
Depending on the last activated View, in the List View, a virtual folder (Groups) may have been displayed or all active fonts (Views) for example.
The way it is programmed now, this will not work that in the end the same fonts would be displayed as they where first showed.
If all views and folders were combined in one panel, this would work.
Further the panels "Font Tags" and "Tag Search" I don't want to be included in the cycle through loop. The font size field surely wouldn't have to either. But the panel "Characters" I will have included.
As a summary, these panels would be the ones that would make sense for me to be included in the cycle through loop:
  • List View (here I can navigate immediately with the up/down arrow keys)
    Views & Folders (newly combined; navigate here also with arrow keys down/up)
    Characters (here you can navigate with arrow keys down/up/left/right, with Ctrl+right or Page Down you could display the next block)

Here the view from Suitcase:
views-folders-projects.png (136.58 KiB) Viewed 2021 times

9. Integration of Adobe Fonts, Google Fonts etc.
If we are just looking at the features of Suitcase, an integration (as we see on the screenshot above) of the mentioned services would be great.

These are a few thoughts with improvements
It would be great if you could implement some of this in a next version
Many thanks and have a good week

Re: Various improvements

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:43 am
by Erwin Denissen
Thank you for taking time to provide such valuable feedback. I prefer to wait and see what other users have to say about your suggestions, as that will help us decide what enhancement to consider for a future release.

Re: Various improvements

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:45 pm
by StefanKrapf
Hi Erwin
In the meantime I have a question to you and all graphic designers at High-Logic and here in the forum:

How is your workflow if you have to choose some fonts for a project?
And how satisfied are you with this workflow?

Thanks a lot

Re: Various improvements

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:00 am
by StefanKrapf
Hi all
I just made some improvements to my original post.
I did made a better structure (insert some titles and numbers), add many things to no. 5 and add no. 8 and 9.
Please have a look at it.

Now we could better discuss about all these things because I did made some graphical visualisations.
I hope it helps to imagine how it is meant.

Thanks a lot

No. 5 is for me the most important thing!

Re: Various improvements

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:44 am
by StefanKrapf
Here I have an additional visualisation to no. 8
I hope you like it :D :
views-folders-new.png (32.07 KiB) Viewed 2017 times

Re: Various improvements

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:00 am
by StefanKrapf
Ups, I just see that I have made a little mistake.
"ohne Italic" and "Vergleiche" are both selected. Logically, this should not be like this... :wink:

Re: Various improvements

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:23 am
by Erwin Denissen
Thank you for further clarifying your ideas. We are currently busy with FontCreator 13, which has been released this week. And we are also waiting to see comments from other MainType users, so please be patient. I'm mainly interested in 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

Re: Various improvements

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:31 pm
by MikeW
StefanKrapf wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:45 pm
Hi Erwin
In the meantime I have a question to you and all graphic designers at High-Logic and here in the forum:

How is your workflow if you have to choose some fonts for a project?
And how satisfied are you with this workflow?

Thanks a lot
Hello Stefan,

For myself, I tend to review fonts as a kind--ones for body text, headlines, etc.--from the perspective of doing mainly layout work. Once chosen to propose to the client, I'll tag them. Once the project is given the go-ahead, I remove the proposed fonts from the tag that didn't get chosen. This method has worked for me just fine. I don't think I would make use of what would be akin to a rating system (your #5). I don't use a Favorites system (or, most used section) in an application, either. Other than initially choosing X number of typefaces to propose to a client (if not specified upfront), by the time I begin their project I know what typefaces will be used.

If you had 10 or more jobs concurrently, what then?

As to your other parts of the list, I agree with (I think) #4. Anything that speeds up scrolling through categories, full listing, etc., with a high volume of fonts would make MT better.