We’ve been wanting to talk to you guys about fonts for a while now, because we know everyone loves them! Whether you’ve been a designer for many years, or just make a flier for a garage sale here and there, you’ve dipped your hands into the font basket. Trying out different ones, until you find the perfect style that sets the tone for your project. It can be really fun! Well, there’s actually a lot more to fonts than meets the eye…
A good way to look at fonts is that every single one of them is wearing a costume or an outfit, but underneath that costume they’re all the same. Some costumes are more extravagant than others. Some you have to spend money on, while others are free. Fonts (like clothes) are actually made by designers who were paid to create them at one point in time.
But here is where fonts can become problematic for printing places like us… Downloading a font, using it, and then NOT sending its source to your printer along with the artwork, would be sort of like showing your bridesmaids a dress with the labels ripped out and then expecting them to find that exact dress with nothing else to go on. You’re not telling them what store to go to, how expensive it is, just… “Here’s the dress, guys! Happy hunting!”
So it can become very hard for us to edit and print projects with unique fonts, if said fonts haven’t been provided to us in the correct manner. For example, if the font that’s in the file isn’t loaded in its entirety on the viewer’s computer, it will do one of two things. 1) Either we can see and print the font just fine, but aren’t able to make changes. (More often than not, something has to have at least a small edit). Or 2) No changes need to be made. But the font has defaulted to a standard font, because it is no longer tethered to its source file on your computer.
Luckily there are several ways to help out your bridesmaids find the dress you need them to wear, so it’s just as easy to help us printers gain access to your fonts! It just requires a couple of extra steps on your end, before sending your files over to us.
The simplest thing to do is to “package” the design file and send it over along with your print-ready PDF. What this does is take all the elements that you used to create your design file, and compiles them together, so the file can be opened on a different computer, and won’t be missing anything. This includes the fonts. Now, we predominantly use Adobe InDesign, so it’s the program we recommend for others to use, too. It’s not a requirement by any means, but we encourage everyone to at least try it to understand the process. So in InDesign (as well as in Illustrator, too), literally all you have to do is click “File; Package.” There’s prompts that follow, but just use your best judgment with the default settings, and you’ll do it correctly. Then you can name and drop the file wherever you please. I know a lot of you use Dropbox, as do we. If not, you can always compress your file and then email it. If you have more concerns about packaging, we’re here to answer your questions – and will likely post more about this in the future.
Lastly, sometimes the fonts in the packaged file are either corrupted or aren’t a file type that can be opened on our computers. An example would be a project created on a Mac or with Mac-specific fonts, which often times cannot be converted to open on a PC. So if you know you used a font that was downloaded specifically for your print project, or even just looks a little unique, make a note of its name to relay to us. That way if nothing else, we will be able to also find and download it.
And as always… a little about us! Metropolitan Press is a commercial printing company located in Dallas, Texas. We provide offset, digital, and large format printing; along with graphic design, promotional items, mail service and fulfillment. Let us help you with your brochures, postcards, or event collateral and signage! And yes… In the event you forget we’ll always inform you of any and all font issues, to find a quick and easy resolution!
Let us know what we should cover next time!