Aging Font library

Scott Leyes's picture

Well, I've been at this (graphic design) game for over 30 years, been using computers since my wonderful MacSE (Dual-Floppy! 1 MB of RAM!) and my PostScript Type Library is showing its age... I've been encountering more and more problems with my original Adobe Library Type-1 PS fonts, lovingly cared-for over the years, but now exhibiting errors in "modern" software (not showing up in menus, not showing styles other than regular, not rendering at all).


Now the question: do I start replacing my aging core fonts one t a time, or bite the proverbial bullet and pop six grand or so for a full library set? Do they even sell them anymore? I've already had to replace some old friends, like Optima (THAT dog has been causing problems since it was first released back in the 80s).

Or do I just keep limping along and sometimes not use the grandaddies? Most all of the "core" fonts (built into the original printers) like Helvetica and Times, along with the newer faces that have been made "free" as part of Adobe apps (Trajan, Tekton, Myriad) have been updated along the way, but the old standbys like Futura are gathering dust.

Futura is actually my latest problem. Tried using it the other day (in Powerpoint on a Mac), and got nuthin! Da*n, i thought, how can i live without Futura Bold as a reliable font? I was devastated (actually, just pissed, but you get the point).

I'm still using my original three-packages-to-make-one-family of Futura (i think Light-book-bold was one, medium-Heavy-extrabold was one, and condensed was one or two packages). The original font association tables were crap, those we fixed long ago (i was one of the two guys who fixed 'em and sold them back to adobe as part of the NFNT conversion).

Now do I return to Adobe and pop $500+ for the family, or go to one of the other foundries/shop around? I sometimes think Adobe's not even IN the type business anymore, with how quiet they've been of late. Opentype is a must, but Do i even bother with Pro versions?

Oh my, decisions, decisions... I amy be too old for this, and I've got nobody to pass these fonts on to when i die. (Wouldn't THAT be a silly probate -- "I want the Serifs! You get the Display faces and the car!")

Frode Bo Helland's picture

There should be free upgrades for these situations, or at least cheap (paying for the necessary technical work). It does sound like a great situation for digging up some new gems though. Have you seen PTL Superla?

Si_Daniels's picture

Adobe traditionally allowed format conversion - so you could roll your own versions of the classics with a tool like FontLab or TransType - but modern cuts of these fonts are more than conversions - they are often redesigned and offer OpenType goodies.

Mark Simonson's picture

For what it's worth, I've got Adobe Futura fonts from 1987 installed on my system (MacOS 10.5.8) and they appear to be working fine (original flaws and all). I've never altered them in any way and occasionally re-install them from backups on CD-ROM. Some of the first fonts I ever bought. Personally, I like the Bitstream cuts of Futura best.

blank's picture

If you can afford one of the big libraries it’s worth the savings to get them all at once. If you don’t need all the classic text faces with old style figures and extended character sets the Bitstream collection covers a lot of ground and leaves you with a few thousand dollars to spend on contemporary designs.

.00's picture

I've long stopped using fonts, or should I say, other peoples fonts. But I have an extensive old PS Type1 library that seems to work just fine under Snow Leopard. I just checked it out and it seems fine.

I do understand the panic on discovering 20 year old software that does not work as expected on a new OS, but if you think about it, what other 20 year old software is expected to work as normal on a brand new OS?

I wonder if font licensing should come with an expiration date, just for the hell of it?

blank's picture

I wonder if font licensing should come with an expiration date, just for the hell of it?

I’m pretty sure not having yearly license expirations was a mistake in the first place.

Scott Leyes's picture

Yeah, i think i'll need to spend a month or two up-converting fonts from that era (late 80s). I used to do it all the time with Fontographer and type-3 fonts, I just have to get used to FontLab (I've owned it for some time, but I haven't used it for production work).

I did get a little panicked when FontLab sent me an email saying it wasn't working all that well under Snow Leopard - but i'm sure a fix or two is forthcoming from someone (apple or FontLab).

.00's picture

Personally, I like the Bitstream cuts of Futura best.

My favorite Futura was URWs version

Stephen Rapp's picture

You might also check to see if some of your troubling fonts are not due to conflicts. So many applications come with fonts that are installed these days that its possible there are conflicting versions somewhere.

Scott Leyes's picture

I don't think it's specifically conflicts, but it could be related. I'm using FontagentPro to handle activation/organization, and it's great, but i DO have a lot of "base" fonts open all the time, and can run into trouble when I open a LOT of other fonts (the three Neutraface families have a tendency to overload things)... a lot of fonts open and I start to lose some of the later ones in menus, have to close some and/or restart to clear things.

But I'm pretty sure that my Futura Font Association tables are messed up too... I gotta go back to my source files and retrieve them, but of course, they're in storage right now.

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