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Avoiding Font Headaches

Fonts are still the major problem people have when moving a file to another machine.

Fonts In Graphics: Please, please, please, always convert fonts to graphics (curves, paths or whatever your drawing package calls it). You can’t anticipate all the places you may need to use a graphic, especially if the graphic is your logo. I really hate to have to charge for rebuilding someone’s logo file because the designer used an unusual font and no one has it. Of course it is much easier to edit a font than a graphic so be sure to keep a copy of the file before converting it.

Printed Documents: Think through the entire printing process before you get started. If possible use fonts which are present on all of the systems involved. If the printshop or service bureau does not have your font you may be able to loan the fonts to them (this breaks some licensing agreements) or do a “Postscript Dump”. For a “Postscript Dump” or “Print to File” you select the printer driver the print shop or service bureau will use and print to a file with “download fonts” selected. This captures all of what you would send to the printer as if it were hooked up to your computer. The file will be very large and if you do even a tiny thing wrong, the service bureau can’t fix it.

There can be a problem across platforms: a Mac font will not work in Windows and vice versa. If you are working across platforms you need exactly the same font for each. For example: if you are using Adobe Postscript Sabon for Windows and your print shop or service bureau uses Macs and doesn’t have that font, you have three choices. 1) Buy a copy of Sabon from Adobe for them (paying full price a second time is no fun). 2) Change to a font they have. 3) Do a “Postscript Dump” as described above.

True Type vs. Postscript is another source of problems. The True Type font may not be exactly the same as the Postscript version. Many high-end printers will not work with True Type fonts and many low-end printers are not Postscript. Most of the fonts which come with MS Publisher, Corel Draw, MS Word etc. are True Type rather than Postscript. In Windows, if you added them under fonts in the control panel, they are probably True Type. If you used Adobe Type Manager to load them, they are Postscript.

Adobe Acrobat is an interesting product for getting around the whole issue, if you need to share a file but don’t know if the recipient has the fonts or even the software. You can’t easily make changes to an Acrobat file but you can read and print it.

Please call us at 206-523-0872 if you have further questions.

copyright 1998 Karen Seymour

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