From: MarinaDate: January 12, 2010We are trying to get industry feedback on why type management is an essential tool in the day-to-day business and production of graphic design. Why is type management important to your business? What type management tool do you use? We need validation for our argument that type management should be incorporated into any graphic design curriculum.
For a couple of years now, designers have been able to by pass the roughly $100 expense of the well known Suitcase and FontAgent with the free FontExplorerX by Linotype. It worked very very well, all the way through OS X 10.5, but last year, Linotype released FontExplorer Pro and announced discontinued support for the free version, left without OS X 10.6 or Adobe CS4 compatibility at v1.2.3. Ah well, all things must pass. At least it's $20 less than the competition.
So, we're kind of back where we started, with a few expensive options, but at least they have all matured into full-featured, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing packages, which have great tools for helping you pick the right type for the task. This AppleBlog article has a basic comparison of the apps. I have an old bias against Extensis Suitcase, which put designers through all kinds of bugs and crashes and incompatibilities through the evolution of Mac OS X. FontAgent has had an edge on Suitcase, but now the two appear neck-and-neck, with FontExplorer Pro taking a bit of a lead. The post makes the smart recommendation to kick the tires on all the trials.
Meanwhile, trying to design without one of these tools would be well nigh impossible, or at least mind-numbingly inefficient, and students should learn to get a handle on their font collection, even before they start trying to crank out their first document.