Downloading and purchasing fonts

You can find many places on the Web to download free fonts. I must warn you, though, that some free fonts are problematic and can cause instability. In addition, don't download any bitmap fonts, no matter how cool they look. Always stick with PostScript fonts (True Type, Type1, and OpenType). In a wholly nonpreferential, alphabetical order, here are a few of my favorite sites for downloading free fonts.

i

www.

. 1001fonts.com

i

www.

. abstractfonts.com

i

www.

.chank.com

i

www.

. fonthead.com

i

www.

. larabiefonts.com

A number of Web sites that don't specialize in fonts also offer them. Stock photo sites, clip art sites, and even general graphics-related sites often have free fonts available. Collections of commercial fonts can be purchased from a wide variety of sources, including my two favorite font sources:

Ii www.adobe.com/type i www.fonts.com

Although having lots of fonts can stretch your options, too many fonts can lead to slowdowns and other problems. If you do find yourself someday with a massive collection of fonts, none of which you could bear to part with, use a font management utility. The Mac OS has the built-in Font Book, and Extensis (www.extensis.com) offers Suitcase (available online for about $100) for both platforms.

If you download fonts from a Web site, be aware that the files might be compressed. Compressing a downloadable file does several things:

i Provides for a faster download: The smaller the file, the less time it takes to travel through cyberspace from the Web server to your computer.

i Reduces storage: A compressed file takes up less space on the Web server's hard drive — and less space on yours, too! After installing the font, move the compressed file to a safe place to save as a backup. And consider burning your special font files to CD for security.

i Allows for secure transmittal: Files that are compressed are less likely to become corrupted in transit and are also less likely to set off alarm bells for your antivirus software.

How can you tell whether a file is compressed? Look at the file extension at the end of the filename. If you see .zip (both platforms) or .sit or .sea (Mac only), you have a compressed file. Simply double-click the file to launch the StuffIt (Mac) or WinZip (Windows) utility before attempting to install the font.

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