New font manager

Comments

  • Another day, another font management most designers don’t really need. 
  • Another day, another font management most designers don’t really need. 
    Sorry James. I guess I should have asked “What do you think of this product?” not “What do you think?” -_-
  • Does this have auto-activation, validation/troubleshooting, conflict resolution, and cache clearing? 
  • IOW is this a font manager, or really just a font browser?
  • I went ahead and bought this to try it out, if only because I'd been thinking about building something similar as an intro to Swift.

    I can confirm that this is not really a font manager, and so it doesn't include any of the things the @Jackson Cavanaugh is wondering about. I'm not sure what the "deep integration with Font Book" is, since I don't see any mention of Font Book anywhere in the UI or menus.

    What this does seem useful for is what they've (somewhat) billed it for: previewing a small test string with a handful of different typefaces. That being said, the relatively small number of fonts that I have installed were overwhelming in the way they are displayed on my small screen. I was able to make it seem a bit more manageable by selecting only my User's Font folder, rather than the default list that includes System fonts (not sure really why this is the default, given the target audience).

    I couldn't figure out how to use the overlay feature (tried to compare two grades of Action Cond), and there are some other UI considerations that are still rough around the edges (if you're not a fan of Helvetica Hairline you're going to be disappointed). That being said, the UI is pretty spare, which is probably the main benefit over actually using a font manager to do the same. The UI and animations were snappy in the time I spent testing it.

    Given that I manage my font files manually (the only way that I've found to maintain sanity over my Fonts folder), this application seems fairly useful. The bottom line is that if you're using Font Book to attempt to preview typefaces currently, this seems like a better experience in general (though that's a low bar to get over).

    Authors might want to reconsider how to market it though.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,478
    edited February 2016
    I bought it to see what it's about (only ten bucks, what the hell). It seems to be mostly about browsing and viewing fonts. You can use it to add fonts the system font collections, which could be handy if you use those. It has a neat feature that lets you overlay two fonts to compare them. It lets you create an ad hoc collection of fonts which, I guess, is for when you are evaluating fonts to use on a project, for example.

    All in all, it doesn't really do much, and it's missing some things that would be handy, like being able to select multiple fonts to add to collections instead of one at a time. It has no activation features. It seems to be sort of an add-on for people who use Font Book. It looks nice, but maybe not worth the price.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,478
    edited February 2016
    I couldn't figure out how to use the overlay feature

    Click on a font to view it; click on the "AB" button; now go back to the overview. You will now see that font overlaying the other fonts. If you click on one of them, you can see two fonts at the same time in detail. Click on the "AB" button again to go back to normal.
  • Jack Jennings said: I'm not sure what the "deep integration with Font Book" is, since I don't see any mention of Font Book anywhere in the UI or menus.

    Integrates with FontBook, subject to FontBook limitations (scroll down to "collections"): http://typeface.criminalbird.com/help

  • Ahh, I guess I thought that there was more to it than that.
  • Nice feedback and to those who bought it to check it out… It seems it is, what it is. Which, actually, could be good for a non designer who, does not need all the power of a FontAgent Pro or other manager.
    Maybe the simplicity is an advantage for some users. 
    The Helvetica Hairline in an interface? No thanks.
  • I'd suggest that auto activation, good conflict resolution, and validation/troubleshooting are even more important for casual font users. 
  • Developer here :)
    Just came across this thread - bit late, but I hope you don't mind if I jump in and answer some questions/clear some things up.

    Does this have auto-activation, validation/troubleshooting, conflict resolution, and cache clearing? 
    No, the focus lies on previewing fonts and finding the one you need.
    That being said, the relatively small number of fonts that I have installed were overwhelming in the way they are displayed on my small screen. I was able to make it seem a bit more manageable by selecting only my User's Font folder, rather than the default list that includes System fonts (not sure really why this is the default, given the target audience).
    Interesting feedback, thanks. I will add a user fonts only option in the next version, although it probably won't be the default. Otherwise users will be confused about why they can't see the fonts they can use in Photoshop/Indesign/Sketch etc.
    there are some other UI considerations that are still rough around the edges
    Would you mind telling me what you'd like to see improved?
    (if you're not a fan of Helvetica Hairline you're going to be disappointed)
    The Helvetica Hairline in an interface? No thanks.
    The app uses the regular OS X system font, which is Helvetica if you're on 10.10 or San Fransisco on 10.11. It only uses (greyed-out) Helvetica Neue Thin for rendering missing characters, i.e. for fonts that don't contain the characters that you want previewed (and therefore not important). Since the app focuses on your fonts, I deliberately chose neutral fonts for the UI.
    I'd suggest that auto activation, good conflict resolution, and validation/troubleshooting are even more important for casual font users. 
    I don't agree, but maybe we think of different casual users. The most important for font users in my eyes is to find the font they want to use. The things you mention are exactly what I would mark as advanced features and there is other font software available for that (although much more expensive). Typeface was made to help you find fonts you like for your design project. Quick and accurate previews that are easily comparable are things that I personally missed while designing. The Quick Collection allows you to create a candidate list of fonts without much effort. I think the managing part is not that important in the design workflow.

    Happy to answer any more feedback!
  • I'm on a 13" screen, which certainly drives a lot of the issues that I had with the UI (I realize that's probably not the norm for most designers).
    • On the gridded mode, I have to scale down to ~50pt before I can get more than one column to display (when the app is full-screen)
    • For some reason, there's a large amount of space below each text sample, so that I can only see around 3.5 different fonts when set at ~50pt
    • Really I'd be happy enough to dispense with Helvetica for system fonts everywhere. Helvetica's "neutrality" isn't particularly 
    • The comparison between typefaces attempts to do some alignment, but it seems to make some unhelpful decisions. The following image seems to show Action Condensed Bold horizontally scaled to match the advance width of the light grade. I'd be more inclined to match the cap height and allow the two samples to be different lengths.
    That's the majority of my grievances and as many as I feel comfortable providing without making this thread into something better suited for a private correspondence.
  • Thanks Jack, appreciate you taking the time to give all this feedback!

    13" should not be a problem, I personally use a MacBook for designing as well occasionally (although big screen is much preferred ;) )
    • The columns snap at certain points to make sure the previews fit. Some fonts are wider than others, so the previews need to have some space to work with. I noticed in your screenshot that you show particularly narrow fonts (all condensed) - for these fonts I understand that you expect two columns with a larger point size, but this would mean wider fonts will be cropped. If you want to see more fonts at once, I'd recommend to set a smaller preview text. Change it to "Ab" for example to still get a taste of your font styles. It should give you much more previews at once.
    • The reason is that I like whitespace - it's a design decision and I'm aware that some people want to see a more compact list. This gives more room to breathe for each preview, which I like, but I'll consider lowering it a bit.
    • Sorry don't really understand your third point, but if you mean you don't like Helvetica as a system font - I can't really change that I'm afraid.
    • Scaling the comparison overlay is indeed a dilemma. Since tracking, kerning, width, height can all be different. I'll see what I can do about it, it's a good point.
    Hope this clears up some decisions I made.
    (And you're free to contact me if you want a private correspondence of course)
  • Oops, I hit post before finishing my Helvetica bullet point. I'm on 10.11 and still have Helvetica in the search bar and as the fallback text. My preference here would just be to use the system font in these instances as well. San Francisco has perhaps more claim to "default" status given that it's the UI typeface (neutrality in type is at worst folly and at best a misnomer).
  • In regards to scaling the comparison: If I have two different but similar Garamond revivals, the differences in all of the things that you mention (tracking, kerning, width…) are just as valuable to understand as difference in shape (if not moreso).
  • (neutrality in type is at worst folly and at best a misnomer).
    Totally agree. I just meant that by using default system fonts users won't get distracted by the UI, i.e. they're neutral given the system.
    (tracking, kerning, width…) are just as valuable to understand as difference in shape (if not moreso).
    Yes good point, I'm thinking about adding user configurable scaling. That will make it a bit more flexible.
  • This is an interesting app. It could be very useful to some people—although of no use at all to me.

    But to me it feels deceptive (at best) to call it a font manager. It is a font utility that integrates with the font manager provided by Apple. Basically it means the user's font management is split across two apps. Ugh.
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