Installing Thousands of Fonts. What's the Worst that can Happen?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by heyhector, May 31, 2016.

  1. heyhector macrumors newbie


    Jan 28, 2016
    Seriously, what is the worst that can happen?

    My company is upgrading our old iMacs. Our IT guy told us to collect all our fonts so he can install them in our new iMacs, that way we don't have to re-download and install them.

    I don't think anyone was expecting a 3gb folder with 9,000 items (no duplicates). It's an impressive folder, I cried. It was a beautiful monster.

    I'm debating on weather we should continue down this road and install everything, or just giving everyone the standard Adobe Fonts and let them sort through what they need.

    What's the worst that could happen with 9,000 items? Keep in mind that it's not 9,000 random fonts. The majority are broken down into organised Families. My concern is mostly on system performance.

    Optionally, can I install ALL of them, but have them deactivated upon install? I'm also open to font management suggestions. I really hate the default Font Book.
  2. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    While I expect there is a significant OS performance hit by having lots of fonts loaded, I have no formal proof of this. I can say that your app launching experience will be miserable, as having large amounts of active fonts does slow many applications down when they are doing their startup / launch routines.

    That said, there is no reason to ever have that many fonts loaded unless you are using them all in every document. A decent font management program will auto-activate the fonts you need, so the process becomes quite transparent for the user. I use Suitcase 7. I don't love it, but it works.
  3. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    Performance will suffer greatly with more than a few hundred fonts installed. How greatly depends on lots of factors such as computer configuration and what apps you're using.

    Bottom line: You really need a professional-level font manager. I think you'll find what you're looking for here. This will go a long way to improving your workflow and speeding things up. It'll also solve the typical problems involved with multiple users working on the same files.
  4. 8692574 Suspended


    Mar 18, 2006
    Your head will explode finding the right one! :p
  5. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I'm pretty sure that's what the graphic designers where I work do.

    They also use Suitcase Fusion to manage their bazillions of fonts.
  6. superscape macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK

    Most studios I have dealings with use Extensis's Universal Type Client. Suitcase Fusion seems to be comparable but stand alone Macs. I hesitate to call either popular, because most people I've spoken to it don't like 'em. I've heard good things about Font Explorer, so maybe give its free trial a go:

    I should point out that I use neither, but have regular contact with users of both so I'm just parroting what users have told me!

    As far as installing *all* your fonts goes - that's an interesting one. Conventional wisdom, going back years, says that its a bad idea and things will grind to a halt and become unusable. I wonder whether that still holds true? It may well. However, I wonder where the point where installing all your fonts becomes a bad idea is these days - a few hundred fonts? a few thousand? I guess there's one way to find out... ;-)
  7. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    You should read the link I provided above. Fusion 7 allows for two Macs to sync fonts, and the TeamSync allows for as many Macs as you want for a low monthly price that includes the cost of Fusion.

    As far as how it works, I've not come across any issues with it in years on several Macs I administer.
  8. superscape, Jun 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016

    superscape macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
    Yeah, I tried to but it doesn't seem to work. :-(

    In fairness to Extensis, many of the issues I've heard of may well be of the user's own creation.
  9. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    Yup. That is exactly what we do.

    I suggest you find a new IT person if they can't answer these questions for you. This is about a basic as it gets.

    Installing thousands of fonts can slow a system down noticeably. It has been fifteen years since I operated without a font manager. Systems are much faster today, so I can't fully know the result. Installing thousands of fonts will absolutely use extra resources, that is for sure. Whether you will notice or not, I can't know. You should be using Font Book at the very least. We use Suitcase for our Windows machines and the OSX standard Font book for the Macs.

    Oh, and fire you IT guy. It sounds like any designer who has been working for five or ten years can do his or her job better.
  10. Michael Anthony macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2012
    I understand the IT guy, but it's just loading bloat onto a new system, much of which is unlikely to be used again. Apart from that, a performance hit when loading applications that use the whole library of fonts can be expected.
  11. monstruo macrumors regular


    May 5, 2009
    It's really silly to install fonts directly to your system. Unnecessary bottlenecking for startups & performance, etc.
    (It will fair better if the system is running on SSD, but it's 3gb worth of fonts!)

    Get a font manager app. Most of these apps come with adobe plugins to prompt activation when needed. You have more control over your collection in areas like browsing, tagging, creating smart folder, etc.
  12. ProjectManager101 Suspended


    Jul 12, 2015
    My favorite game is to delete fonts from the system. Most fonts look a like any way. Every project has their own fonts, clients have their own fonts, the fonts need to be within each project.

    Think of this... why an airplane like a 747 need to fly full of gas if the trip is just an hour long? Why you need to carry useless weight? You add fonts, then you add something else. All of the sudden you have a computer super slow and you complain about the system. The problem is that you are carrying too much crap you are not using.
  13. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    If you're unlucky, a 'rogue' font will cause an occasional problem that will be difficult/time-consuming to troubleshoot.

    An end user might become confused about how to manage duplicate or obscurely-named fonts.

    And so on, but I wouldn't describe such things as the worst that can happen.

    Such things may be most painful when (for example) a user first runs an app that must build a WYSIWYG menu of fonts. The first app that comes to mind is Microsoft Word.
  14. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    You shouldn't need to delete fonts in OSX. Disable them.

    This is why font managers exist and why OSX comes with Font Book.
  15. StevePaselli macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2016
    The Western civilization will grind to a halt. Seriously, you don't need all the fonts to be active (available to programs), you just need them to be in a folder on the local disk, so YOU can activate/deactivate those three fonts you need to open a document. If you don't know which fonts are needed to open a doc, rest assured that the program you're opening it with will ask for them by name. Using a font manager, create a group with those fonts and activate it, then open your document. Just remember to deactivate the group afterwards. Next time that same group will be available for activation for reading other documents from the same source. The less fonts you have active ar any time the better.

    Avoid autoactivation: it works only in a perfect world, but this one is far from perfect. How the system is supposed to tell which version of "Times" is needed for one single document? YOU know. So just activate the right one. This is how professional prepress/graphics work and, if you aren't one, then why so many fonts...?

    FontExplorer is a nice choice, just remember: managing fonts it is up to YOU, the tool you use is not important; unless it's something from Extensis. Have a nice day.
  16. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Your brochures and other DTP designs are going to look horrible as you cannot resist the urge to overload them with different fonts.
  17. sigmadog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    I've got almost 4000 fonts on my system. I collect fonts like Charlie Sheen collects STD's.

    I use Suitcase Fusion 4 with Adobe CS6 plug-ins and it works great.

    I was a Suitcase user all the way back to System 6. I wandered to Font Explorer for a couple years (around 2008 or so), but I came back to Suitcase and I have no desire for anything else because it works in the background with seldom a hiccup.

    Also, FontBook is a joke.
  18. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar

    So, I can't say for Mac but for Windows at least if you load up a ton of fonts your system slows to a crawl, and if any font has errors it can cause weird errors throughout your OS that are very hard to track down. Some the absolute most trickiest fixes when I worked in IT were due to corrupt fonts.

    Mac has a font manager built in called "Font Book". I would highly suggest using that to install and/or preview your fonts through.

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