Fonts come in all shapes and sizes; Big and small, tall and short, round and rigid, whatever the style you’re looking for, there’s usually a font that fits your needs.
As a graphic designer you often find yourself hoarding hundreds or thousands of fonts on your computer, many of which you don’t actually use. But, did you know that keeping all those fonts installed on your computer is actually affecting load times of programs?
I always wondered why Microsoft Word would take so long to load and it turns out it was because I had like 5000 fonts installed and no way to sort them. So, I did what any modern day researcher would do and check Stackoverflow.com where I found about font managers.
The hunt for the perfect font manager
So, what is a font manager? A font manager is a software application used to install, activate and manage font files from a centralised dashboard.
You might have heard of tools like Font Book which is the default font manager for MacOS, but considering that 76% of the PC market are Windows users, we needed alternatives.
I spent several days looking online for a font manager that offered four simple features:
- Font previews
- The ability to install and uninstall fonts
- Font categorisation/folders
- Syncing with Adobe Creative Cloud
The font managers that I could I find online at the time were either outdated (nexus fonts), expensive (FontExplorer X Pro) or just plain ugly (Fontsuit). I was about to give up until I came across this amazing little gem called FontBase.
What is FontBase?
According to the developer, Dominik Levitsky Studio, “FontBase is the font manager of the new generation, built by designers, for designers.” and I honestly believe them.
FontBase is beautiful, modern take on something as boring as font management. The tool is fast, feature-rich, cross-platform and best of all? It’s free.
FontBase is beautiful, modern take on something as boring as font managementTweet
There is also a paid subscription called FontBase Awesome that adds some extra features but we’ll touch on that shortly.
Font management. Perfected. (how it works)
Installing FontBase is a simple process, just visit their website at https://fontba.se, click download and it will serve the correct file depending on your operating system.
Once installed, you will be presented with an application window with two sections. This is your font manager dashboard. On the left you will several sections, “all”, “collections” and “providers”.
- All – Allows you to view every font or refine your collection by favourites, active fonts and inactive fonts
- Collections – Allows you to group several typefaces or fonts that can be activated individually or in bulk
- Providers – Allows you to download and activate fonts from different repositories and type foundries. Currently supports Google fonts.
- Folders – Allows you to access local fonts in their native folders.
To install a font, simply click the icon (circle or square) to toggle its active state. Circles represent fonts on your computer while squares represents fonts from font repositories (Google fonts).
Tired of scrolling through hundreds of fonts just to find what you’re looking for? FontBase allows you to search for the font you want by typing in a portion or all of the name. Additionally, you can search for a specific font weight eg. bold, italic, extra bold etc.
Still not impressed? Okay, well did you know that FontBase allows you to test how your fonts will look in a real-life page layout? You can play around with font weights, line heights and padding for different headings before deciding to implement a typeface in your project.
Everything you need in a font manager (features)
FontBase’s free version comes with several useful functions that any designer or developer would appreciate:
- OpenType Features,
- View or copy glyphs,
- Adjust color, background, text, alignment font size and line height for your fonts,
- See all font styles on a single page, discover combinations and weights,
- Nested folders support,
- and automatic updates
FontBase’s premium version, FontBase Awesome adds some new features that are sure to improve your font management workflow.
- Find fonts based on the properties that actually matter: x-height, contrast, weight, and more.
- All missing fonts are activated automatically in your Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign documents.
- View and copy all of your fonts glyphs in a single click on the specimen page.
- Change your fonts in multiple grid layouts
Currently, FontBase Awesome is only $3 per month but you can also pay $29 per year or $180 for a lifetime subscription which includes all updates.
FontBase is amazing. I might even have to say FontBase is the perfect font manager for Windows, MacOS and Linux. It has every feature you would need from a modern font manager and the premium version is a no-brainer considering what you get with it. I highly recommend it.
Have you tried FontBase yet? What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below.
Download the latest version of FontBase here:
Related: The Coolors Guide (2021)