Font Management Apps for Pros and Amateurs Alike

Font Management Apps for Pros and Amateurs Alike

Mike Tyson
Dec 5, 2011

A font management tool is a necessity for professional designers, illustrators, and other visual artists working with computers. With the enormous quantity of fonts available, a means of managing them on your multiple computers simultaneously is imperative. After the jump we have a selection of font management tools that will satisfy the demands of the most casual amateur to an advanced professional.

Suitcase Fusion 3 ($99.95)
This application is available for both the Mac and PC. It features a simple interface which doesn't require any manual-reading before use. Although it does come packed with a ton of advanced features and to explorer them all, it'd likely be helpful to poke around their website to really understand all that this powerful application can provide. It has the extremely helpful auto-activate feature so as soon as you add a font to your library, it will become available within your Adobe programs, no need to restart. Another cool feature is QuickMatch which allows you to search your library for fonts that are stylistically similar.

Fontcase ($30)
Unfortunately this software is only for Mac and is available for purchase on the Mac App Store. It is the best designed application, visually speaking. There are multiple font preview/comparison techniques that really help professionals get a sense of the nuanced difference between some fonts, helping you select the perfect one. But it doesn't stop there. There is also a free companion iPhone/iPad app so you can preview your fonts on the go. There is a handy syncing feature you can enable which, if you have multiple computers, will check all of your libraries and update them simultaneously when you add/delete fonts. The one downfall we found with this program is that it tends to become laggy when you're dealing with multiple thousands of fonts. Just something to keep in mind if you have a big collection.

FontExplorer X Pro 9 (€79 approx. $100)
Available for both the Mac and PC. The interface isn't flashy like Fontcase but it is a workhorse. Everything has been optimized for speed and an efficient workflow. This is the application my current office uses and we were so impressed with its performance we got it for our home. The program never crashes even when dealing with a lot of fonts, it's extremely easy to import/activate fonts, there is a powerful information view which gives you everything down to the legal info of the font files as well as the ability to compare kerning pairs. There are helpful backup capabilities and great ways to categorize your fonts as well.

(Image: Flickr member atomicshed licensed for use by Creative Commons.)

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