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Get a Delicious Font Library with Fontcase. Review.

I love collecting fonts. Well, I love collecting well-done fonts: I spend a lot of time searching for the right one, depending of what I want to achieve in Photoshop. On the other hand, I love iTunes. Amazing from a user interface standpoint (although written in Carbon) Apple did a great job in creating an all-in-one application for muisc, movies and apps.

What if we can get a similar result..for fonts managing?

Here’s Fontcase.

picture-44

picture-44

Winner of Apple Design Award 2009, Fontcase was created by Bohemian Coding and designed by Laurent Baumann. And that’s what you’ll notice at first run: interface. Fontcase’s UI is something I would like to see in every Mac app: clear,slick, simple menus, big previews, quick look, smart albums. It is Cocoa brought to the next level, something even Apple would like to do in my opinion (just look at Font Book and its ugly interface). 9

Anyway, what Fontcase does, and does it well, is managing your fonts: just like iTunes catalogues and sorts your songs / artists / albums, Fontcase collects your fonts, fonts families, designers and foundries.

Overview


You can browse your fonts collection through the Library tab in the left sidebar, while fonts are displayed in the main window as squares (the size is adjustable with a slider in the bottom right corner) with the regular style  depicting the font’s name (but just as in Finder, you can change the display view to List. There’s no support to Coverflow yet); activated fonts are marked with a green label, inactive fonts with a grey one and system fonts show a cool “construction” yellow/black line.

A great way to get a quick glimpse of your fonts status.

fonts

fonts

list-view

list-view

sizes

sizes

If a font has multilple styles, a little black badge on the top left of the square will show you the exact number of them: one click on the badge and the font family will expand showing all the available styles.

Useful.

single

single

multilple-styles

multilple-styles

But there’s more: if you want to see a quick preview of a selected font, just hit the space bar and a quick look window will open showing a waterfall; moreover, if you hate quick look or you’d like to have an in-depth preview, you can split Fontcase in two separate windows thanks to a slider in bottom center.

quick-look

quick-look

While in “split-mode” Fontcase will display a tabbed sub-window where you’ll be able to view all the Glyphs, a 3 different sizes Waterfall and a body text. Clicking on a single glyph opens a little pop-up with the glyph name and shortcuts to copy it to the clipboarda as UTF, HTML or Char., while you can change the body text to lorem ipsum or LOREM IPSUM to get a preview of capital letters in context.

split

split

sub-window

sub-window

And that’s just the main window of Fontcase. Enough, you say? There’s more!

Compare Fonts

Say you’d like to compare two fonts, a very common task for every designer: with Fontcase is dead simple. Select two fonts (Cmd), hit the Compare button in the toolbar and here it is your camparison.

Just as the split windows mode you can compare Glyphs, Header text and Body text.

untitled

untitled

compare

compare

Obviuosly, this works with 2 or more fonts.

Sidebar

Now that we’ve seen how Fontcase displays fonts and how you can compare them, you might ask how would you simply organize them. To organize and sort your fonts library, you can simply select a font, click on tag button in the top toolbar and an “Edit font metadata” window will open.

Here, you can enter many details that will help you in organizing your fonts such as Family, Rating, Tags, Designers, Foundry, Notes and more.. I’ve found this dialog box simpler than FontExporer one, mainly beacuse of the great design of Baumann, I believe.

tags-and-details

tags-and-details

Once you’ve entered all the details you like, you’ll be able to display in the left sidebar, slick and clear. Another great way to collect your fonts is Smart Albums: assign as many criteria as you wish and the albums will auto-refresh in the future depending on the parameters you’ll enter.

As you might know, I’m in love with Smart Albums, so I highly reccomend you to use them.

Some Flaws

Despite its great features and cool UI, Fontcase has some flaws. Well, in my opinion it has one big problem: auto-activation.

First of all, unlike FontExplorer there’s no auto-activation: this means that you won’t display the fonts imported in FontBook.app but you’ll have to import them again. This happens beacuse Fontcase stores all of its data in an encrypted folder called “Vault” which isn’t syncronized with Font Book.

For this reason, everytime I find some cool fonts I import them in Font Book to auto-activate them in FontExplorer (I still use it for its CS4 integration) and, at the same time, I open them in Fontcase.

Hope Bohemian will add this feature in future updates.

In conclusion

In conclusion, Fontcase is one of the best Mac application for fonts managing I’ve ever seen so far.

Think of it as the perfect mix of iTunes, Delicious Library and Little Snapper.

Sure, it has one big flaw (auto-activation) but I think Bohemian will fix it in the next big update. Besides, I’ve only covered a 40% of Fontcase features in this review, there’s a lot of other cool stuff you should consider: Print settings to have a printed preview of your fonts,sharing options to share Fontcase libraries across many computers, plugins.

And 42 Euros (60$) is an extremely good price for a software like Fontcase. In alternative, you can download a free trial and see if Fontcase will suit to your needs.

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