Designers: How do u handle thousands of fonts?

Community Beginner ,
Jul 04, 2010 Jul 04, 2010

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To all you graphic designers out there, can I get some feedback on your font handling techniques?  I understand all the different font programs out there, and I try not to keep too many fonts in my Windows Font folder... but my dilemma is, I am not a master typographer... when I need to design a new web site or logo etc., I know what theme and feel the font should have, but I cant equate that to a specific font in my head.  So basically what I have been doing is using AMP or Font Xplorer to basically look through all 7000 fonts if this is an important aspect to the design.  So unless it is one of the 10-15 fonts I know, I have to spend 10-20 excruciating minutes looking through all my fonts with the text I need.

There is no way every designer who doesnt have 7000+ fonts memorized do this every day for a new project.  And even if you can group them in folders, are you supposed to suck it up and spend one day grouping all these fonts yourself?  And even when you do, there will be a ton of fonts that can be categorized as 2, 3 or 5 different types... so then you put them in every one of the applicable folders?

I guess I just need a general tutorial on how to pick a font from thousands when you know the feel but not the name of the font.

Thanks!

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Explorer ,
Feb 08, 2011 Feb 08, 2011

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Hi Dathaeus,

I could have written that post of yours myself.  In fact, I did ... about two years ago.

I was a little surprised at the time not to get any replies that offered any guidance on a clear or accessible approach.  I had felt sure finding the "right" face must be something anyone working with layout or typography must be doing all the time, and that surely some sort of real-world schema had been devised.  I got no answers that suggested that might be the case, though.  The only conclusion I could come to was that either people don't tend to do what you and I are wanting to get a handle on - I know a lot of designers tend to have favourite typefaces for their styles and reuse them over and over - and so people here had no expertise of this particular aspect to share, or else those who could teach us something were too busy doing it to read and participate in posts in the Adobe forums.

Some people seem able to remember the names of typefaces and what style grouping they belong to, but I don't seem to be very good at that.  What I ended up doing myself was to invent my own hierarchy of style names and categories, and quiet laboriously create a directory and subdirectory structure to match and sort the font files into the appropriately-named folders.  Then in my font manager - I've been using the Bistream Font navigator that is included with the Corel X5 applications - I set up a separate named group for each subcategory.  Yep, slow and time-intensive ... at least, at first.  But now, if I need a Slavic design face (for example) or a Slab Serif monospaced, then I only have to look in that particular group to see the typefaces that (to my perception) fall into that style.

I don't profess any expertise in this.  Others may sort a number of typefaces completely differently, but since the classification is only for my use, and for creating the "look" I'm trying to get with a particular layout, then what the hey.  For me, it works.

Don't know if that sparks any useful ideas for you.

Bran.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 08, 2011 Feb 08, 2011

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Hi Bran and thanks for answering... ha 2 years later, LOL... I did get some answers in some other forums, but ya true, most designers who are full time know the 10-20 they like and thats it...  I work on brand new web sites that require special typography maybe once every few months, so there is no way I can have fonts memorized.

I think the best way is to categorize them, as others have suggested... I have folders like scripts/handwriting, bold/impact, fun/kids, etc.... that helps, but it take time to set up, and I am always busy doing stuff, its hard to spend time setting things up for things u do a few times a year.... just look at my desk and you'll know what i mean!

Thanks again.

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