Be a Font Librarian Master — Organize Your Font Library!

March 12, 2018
3 min read

Set up your font library or clean up your current collection - part 1

Font. Typeface. Art. Whatever you may call it, fonts can be used in a variety of ways; often as the backbone of any good campaign or design. There are also so many of them which makes it hard for anyone (including seasoned font librarian masters) to keep up with the amount of fonts and their variations. Further, many designers and creative team members may bring in a diverse amount of fonts from home, download fonts that may not be available for commercial use, or use them inadvertently outside of license restrictions. This can make it difficult for any team to create or organize a font library and lead to legal trouble including a font related lawsuits.

Managing your team’s font library can ultimately help you get a grasp on your team’s collection and help your organization stay out of legal trouble. So, what are you waiting for?


Start organizing your team’s font collection:

1. Where in the world are all of your team’s fonts?

Fonts can be scattered anywhere and everywhere. They can be located on desktops or there could be multiple saved to a shared storage space. Don’t forget about the fonts that come with operating systems or creative tools. Yes, they are everywhere. To start, locate your fonts. This step can be the most time consuming, but imperative because you’ll be able to recognize duplicates, see how fonts are being used, and who is using them. A font management system can help you with this task. This step can help you decide how to manage your fonts in the future including how much is being spent and who should and shouldn’t have access to certain fonts.

2. Get a fresh start: begin building your master library.

After locating all of your team’s fonts, copy them to one place such a server location. Keep in mind, with older Macintosh font suitcases or Postscript fonts, copying to a Windows machine will corrupt the fonts, making them inoperable. It is best to compress or zip these files before copying them. When that is complete, clean and check your fonts with an application such as FontDoctor to help repair any fonts that might be problematic – missing PostScript pairs, older Macintosh fonts missing resource forks and so forth. Don’t forget to back up at least one copy of your font files and save to a trusted location.

3. Govern your current license levels.

Start by gathering all of your purchase records and then associate them with fonts in your collection. It’s also a good idea to divide known licensed fonts and fonts of unknown origins into two separate groups. This can be challenging, but an important part of cleaning up your font library and preventing the risk of a copyright lawsuit. There should be a license agreement for every copy of every font. By locating and storing every license agreement, your organization can prove that the license was purchased and can assess how to use each font. If you can’t find a license, it is best to contact the type foundry. They will be able to give you a record of all of your purchases and the associated license agreements. If you or the foundry can’t find a valid record, it’s best to re-license when the font is required for a project. It is better to be safe than get caught up in an unnecessary legal dispute.

Now, you are on your way to becoming a master font librarian…or at least creating a library that is manageable.

To learn more about building your master font library and other font management best practices for teams and organizations, please download our freshly updated guide.


You’ll learn how to:

  • Assess your specific needs
  • Build a font workflow
  • Implement a font management solution,
  • And more!


Read our latest blog post about font copyright and learn how to reduce your risk of a lawsuit.