Way back in the day, back when the Mac still smelled new and different, back when a LaserWriter printer topped $7,000, fonts were scarce.
Here in the 21st century we live a different kind of life. Fonts are everywhere and quality notwithstanding, most are inexpensive. Fonts are an important part of the Mac, for graphic designers, app developers, website developers, publishers and more.
The question to ask is, “How do you manage your fonts?”
While my font collection grows thanks to a few websites which features free fonts, and occasional promotions which offer a few thousand fonts for $10 or so, I’ve always had trouble managing fonts on my Mac, despite trying out a dozen utilities which claim to do just that. Last year I got hooked– for awhile– on a great Mac font management utility called RightFont, an app so good– it syncs fonts between Macs– that the arcane subscription pricing model was a consideration.
OS X comes with Font Book which is more of a font display tool than a manager app. Scour the Mac App Store and you’ll find many thousands of apps for the Mac and a few management tools which have been left to wither on the vine.
Now, back to the Fox icon above. That’s from the Mac font utility called Typeface which works much like Font Book but better, yet it still lacks the single most important function in a font app. More on that in a moment.
Typeface is more of a font finder and preview utility than a management app. You can adjust the preview text and size of any font on your Mac. That’s right. Any font. The apps scours your Mac for both installed fonts (those in use by OS X) or stored fonts (your collection) so you can preview the fonts the way you want; light mode or dark mode (it matters).
One management function I like– and it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from real utility– is the ability for Typeface to put font candidates into a Quick Collection folder to be reviewed or used later.
Typeface is a good way to check differences between fonts when selecting a font for a project. It also previews Font Book collections. There’s a metrics overlay, letter spacing, even outlined previews of fonts, ligatures and other goodies of the Mac font aficionado.
What’s missing in Typeface? A few things.
First, the app is priced about right considering it does more than Font Book but less than full-fledged font management apps. That said, there’s no try-before-you-buy option. It’s the Mac App Store or the highway.
Second, the one feature every– as in all of them, including Apple’s Font Book– Mac font app should have is Activate and Deactive. That’s where the money is but that appears to be the high end of Mac font management utilities. That function alone comes with a hefty price tag, usually bundled with a laundry list of other font management options, including the aforementioned RightFont and the popular FontExplorer X Pro ($99).
I’ll keep an eye on Typeface because it works so well and it’s lacking the one feature I want the most.