Binary Graphics, Inc.

Proper font handling for Mac prepress workstations

by John Knapp, Binary Graphics, Inc. Seattle
© 1997 Binary Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Everyone who handles desktop work has their share of font problems. It's enough to deal with missing fonts in the layouts and graphics we receive... I see no reason to compound our problems by handling fonts in an inconsistent or incorrect way. The following is the best way to handle fonts on Macintosh production workstations in your prepress department.

There are a few basic goals to meet:

  • Never mix customer fonts with your own fonts. (Keep them in separate locations.)
  • Maintain consistent font configurations on all workstations. (Their font set-ups should be clones of one another.)
  • Other than System fonts, eliminate TrueType fonts whenever possible. (Remove all TrueType fonts from your own library and only use them on customer jobs only when there is no other option.)
  • Buy and use the Suitcase font management program.

The proper configuration of fonts on your Macs should include fonts in three distinct categories: Operating system fonts, House fonts, Customer fonts. Here's the proper configuration for each category:

Operating system fonts: Located in the Font folder within the System folder. Include TrueType versions of Chicago, Geneva, Monaco, New York and the bitmap version of Geneva italic 9 point. Include the bitmaps and outlines for the Adobe ATM fonts called Adobe Sans MM, Adobe Sans MM. Also include the courier font family. There should be no other fonts in this location.

House fonts: Create a folder on each workstation containing the fonts that you own. Place all of the type 1 outline fonts in this location. Also place the 10 point version of the type 1 bitmap fonts there. Combine the bitmap fonts into the smallest possible number of bitmap font suitcase files. (If your font library is small, put them all within one suitcase file and call it house bitmaps.) (Minimizing the number of suitcases minimizes font substitution problems.) Use the Suitcase program to open these fonts when needed. When you invest in new fonts, be certain to install them on each workstation. Consistency in font configurations is necessary for peak productivity.

Customer fonts: Keep them within the customer job folder on your file server. Do not copy them to the local workstation hard drive. Keep all outline fonts in a font folder within the job folder. Keep all bitmap fonts within one screen font suitcase file that is named after the job. Use the Suitcase program to open these fonts when needed. (Minimize font substitution problems by closing the house fonts while you are handling customer jobs which use customer provided fonts.)



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