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Old 07-26-2010, 07:28 AM   #1
hugohs
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Default Font sharing and consistency in small shop

Hi everyone. I've got a question regarding font management and sharing. I help a small design firm with 5 or 6 computers that are used for design. Over the years we've used a few methods for getting everyone access to the same fonts.

Originally, back in 2005 or so, (after getting no joy using Suitcase Server) we used the Open Directory on the Mac OS X Server 10.4 to share a Font directory. This worked pretty well - except that people would add fonts to their own machine instead of into the Font directory, and chaos slowly spread.

After a few years, they wanted to try ChronoSync - we cleaned up the server's font folder, setup ChronoSync to sync both ways (to and from the shared font folder) and that did pretty good job of letting people add fonts on their own machine, which would then get synced back to the server - and from there the new fonts would get sync out to the other machines.

Any of this stuff is tough to setup and/or manage when there isn't someone there with daily responsibility to stay on top of it, it seems.

So... they recently added a new iMac running 10.6 and new font problems have ensued. Not sure if it's due to a variation on the 10.5 issue with the system keeping some "special" fonts in the /System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/ATS.framework/Versions/A/Resources/ProtectedFonts/ directory. They have now got such a mish mash of Helvetica/HelveticaNueu/Arial etc. being used in everything from design pieces to their FileMaker job ticket system GUI that I'm not clear where to begin. Feels a bit like wading into a treacherous swamp!

I'm tempted to look at FontExplorer X Pro - to clean up the "primary" font folder on the server and then start syncing this to everyone's ~/Library/Fonts folder.

I wonder what others have learned in dealing with stuff like this. I should throw in there that my client is not really ready to purchase Font Explorer X Server, or other $1500+ solution. If this takes too long to figure out though, this digging around for a solution is going to come close to costing that anyway. Hopefully, there is a low cost wheel that we don't have to reinvent!

Thanks everyone for any input you may have.

Hugo
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:53 AM   #2
ktinkel
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Default

Oh, yes — the dread Helvetica issue.

It arose with Leopard (10.5) and continues. I believe the safest approach is to uninstall all Helvetica and Helvetica Neue from:

• System/Library/fonts
• System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/
Versions/A/Frameworks/ATS.framework/Versions/A/Resources/ProtectedFonts/

Then install a version of Helvetica (with bold, oblique, bold oblique) on every Mac. The name must be plain vanilla Helvetica, no modifiers. If the system doesn’t find that it will either throw up or re-install the problematic dfonts.

It is possibly more difficult with Snow Leopard; I haven’t tangled with it myself, but I found a long thread on FontGeek: “Snow Leopard, Adobe InDesign, and Helvetica Neue” that may help you.

Another approach is to use Fontographer or another font editor to change the names of your own Helvetica and Helvetica Neue fonts. But that can cause nightmares when files are exchanged.

Good luck with it. Let us know what you figure out.

   
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