No, but if you need more than say three, four fonts in a design that is considered not to be very good design now is it!
I would say no in absolute terms, with a practical, personally proven limit being more than 1,700 fonts. With issues.
I have the entire Adobe OpenType Library, as it existed something like 8 years ago. I promptly built an InDesign book over two weeks, consisting of 170 InDesign pubs each having type samples for 10 fonts, burning up one toner cartridge and the better part of a second, chewing through four reams of paper and probably taking a year off the life of my office network-class laser printer.
After that arduous process, I got a request/challenge to build one InDesign document out of it for a publisher who wanted to distribute it as a network resource for its designers. I thought the company was mad, but willing to pay for it so I did. I'd already built the model for my type book, which I used maybe a couple dozen times over three or four years then tossed it, and had an elaborate library element I could place on a page then substitute the font sample. Still, it took the better part of a week to do it, one hour on and one hour off to reduce repetitive stress symptoms, but I managed to create a 1,732 page InDesign document for the company.
It was, to say the least, cumbersome, but it was a navigable InDesign document and my personal white whale for determining how much junk you could stuff into a single InDesign document. Then they put it on their network, choking it down almost immediately. I built a PDF from my InDesign book, stitching together 100-ish page PDFs created from InDesign then combining them in Acrobat, with similar, but slightly less heinous results.
The company then distributed the PDFs to local desktops. It was searchable by font family name, but never as practical as hoped. It was quietly scrapped months later. But at least it was billable ...
So the short story, I guess, is the answer is lots'a'fonts. But you probably don't want to test the limits. Trust me on this.
Like you, Randy, I am collaborating with a guy on a script to create a one-line font book. The script runs fine for a while but crashs InDesign at font 1426. Removing that font or even 10 of them doesn't matter. It still crashs at the same location. Now there are many reasons why this might happen, but I wanted to rule out "too many fonts" as a possibility.
I didn't script it; I produced it "by hand." It had one font per page, with lines of text set at various increments from 8pt to 48pt. I can't offer if your workflow is "wrong" or mine was "right", but I can share how I generated it. Or at least how I think I remember how I generated it ... it's been a long time since I did it, and it was a painful but kind of vivid memory.
Font size/weight descriptions between the set text were set Times Pro bold italic, 10 points, and the Header describing the font was set in Helvetica bold, 30pt. What I would do is lay it down in a stacking order of first the positioned type size/weight descriptions, then arranged the type samples to fit between the type size descriptions, with the descriptions floating in a 14pt space between the type sample lines. Finally, at the top, I'd have the name of the font. It took some juggling, but I could get up to six weights on a page. There were a few cuts with more weights, of course, in those instances I would do [font family (cont'd)] page(s) until it was all displayed.
Once I had the model built and used line borders to both separate the header from the text and define the top and bottom page margins, I selected all the page elements and put it up as a library element. Workflow would be to
Add new pages and lather-rinse-repeat ad nauseum until the job was done. It was tedious, as there was no automation beyond my own muscle memory. But it did build one massive 1732-page InDesign document. It was easier for me to build it manually in smaller chunks and stitch it together with the InDesign's Book functions, but the client wanted one InDesign document. And the client was paying, and wanted one document, so that was what was made.
I imagine it might make your job easier with automation, cutting things down by an arbitrary number of fonts before your tested ceiling, or alternately, maybe alpha breakdowns until you finish the deed and then stitch the resulting document files into a book. It's worth a shot, right?
I've got to let you know, though, that the end result probably wasn't worth the effort. Nobody wants to go through a huge font book, either leafing through hard copy pages or cycling through it digitally. I used my hard copy maybe a half-dozen times in a couple of years before I tossed it. A searchable PDF and printing sample pages was better, but even then the client scrapped it inside of six months. But hey, if they're paying, it's worth providing the service.
Hopefully this will help you past your issues,
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