Tuesday, 30 September 2008

I hate corrupt fonts!

Here at IP our studio is all kitted out with Macs. I do love Macs and, let's be honest, who doesn't?! But sadly, even the mighty Mac is victim to poor computer performance every now and again. Finally, after trawling the internet to resolve several extremely annoying computer issues, I came across an article that put the blame on fonts!
I must admit I do find it hard not to turn down a good free font, but can this really be the problem? Well I have to say after following a set of instructions, not only did my computer resolve nearly all its issues, but also the performance was so much better!
I would thoroughly recommend following these instructions to make your Mac purr like it used to!

1. Consolidate All Your Fonts Into One Folder:
Move all fonts out of the /Users/[username]/Library/Fonts folder.
Move all fonts out of the /Library/Fonts folder.
Move most fonts out of /System/Library/Fonts except:
(Keep Helvetica and Helvetica Neue if you do not have PostScript or OpenType versions of these. Make sure that these two fonts are in your startup (permanent) activation set if you do remove them. See more on these two below.)

If you are using classic, take everything out of /System Folder/Fonts except Charcoal, Chicago, Geneva, and Monaco.

Remember that if you are using your older Type 1 Postscript fonts you still need the screen (bitmap) font suitcase and the outline (postscript) font. (In Mac OS X, font suitcases look and behave like other font files: You can't open them by double-clicking the file as you can in Mac OS 9. Use Font Doctor or Smasher to edit these font suitcases if required.)

It is also advised that you remove everything from program specific folders in the /Library/Application Support and ~/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support folders. This includes font folders for Microsoft products, Adobe, and Macromedia.
Adobe puts fonts here:
~user/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts
/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts
The exception is the Adobe/Fonts/Reqrd folder. Don't delete this file, or you'll break your adobe apps.

NOTE: iCal and a few other programs require Helvetica and/or Helvetica Neue. You don't necessarily have to use the version installed by default in OSX (dFont) - you can replace these with other TrueType or PostScript versions that you use for publishing.
If you use the dFont version of either of these fonts, you may find the type in your older jobs is reflowing. If you had a PostScript or TrueType version of these fonts installed before going to OS X, you should choose to install that version instead of the dFont. Programs that require these fonts will work correctly no matter what version of these fonts is installed.

2. Delete the Myriad Font Caches:
If you see garbled font display or your applications are crashing or freezing then a likely cause is a corrupt font cache.
Under OS 9 the system would read and write to font files directly. If a crash happened at the wrong moment it was (remotely) possible for the font file to become corrupt, which could lead to all sorts of crashes. In OS X, instead of opening the original font, everything is copied into a
cache. This protects the original from damage, but unfortunately, the cache files seem to become corrupt much more often under OSX than the fonts themselves became corrupt under OS9. (from link #2)

Adobe uses it's own font caching technology (of course) to delete all the Adobe font caches do a find for "AdobeFnt" and delete everything that it finds with a .lst extension (e.g AdobeFnt.lst, AdobeFnt08.lst etc). Warning - do not delete the AdobeFnt.DB files.

You can use an app to delete all your font caches (see links below) or do it manually.
There's a number of files and folders to delete - in all cases, delete the object listed:
/Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS (this is a FOLDER, not a file)
/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/ (Office Font Cache)
Adobe Font Caches: any file that starts with AdobeFnt and ends with a .lst extension
/System/Library/Caches/All.files.whose.names.include.ATS or font. The com.apple.ATS.System.fcache and com.apple.ATSServer.FODB_System files are the most important ones to delete. But it doesn't hurt to delete of all of them.

Whichever method you choose, restart your Mac after deleting the cache files. That’s the best way to make sure OS X immediately and correctly creates new files. If a corrupt font is actually causing your problem, eliminating the cache files won’t help – but cleaning out your font caches is often effective and certainly easy.

3. Clean Up Your Font Library.
Run FontDoctor or Font Agent over all the collected fonts to remove corrupt, orphaned, duplicate and unnecessary screen fonts.
Normally you do not want dFont duplicates of any PostScript or OpenType fonts - especially the Helvetica, Times, Symbol and Zapf dFonts.
Once you've cleaned up all your fonts (Font Doctor does a nice job of putting them all in lovely alphabetised order) then you can use your font mangement utility to activate and deactivate as required. Don't have too many fonts activating at startup - let them auto-activate when possible and make sure the auto-activated fonts are set to deactivate on restart.

4. Burn a Master CD
We recommend burning a CD (or DVD if your font library is huge) to keep as a known good copy of all your fonts. Copy this CD to each workstation's hard drive and use Suitcase, Font Agent Pro or Font Explorer X to open and close them. If your font library changes regularly, burn the collection to a CD-RW. Try to enforce a strict font management policy - only one or two people in the studio should be able to add fonts to the company library.

5. Garbled Fonts in Safari, Mail
A common cause of this problem can be activating multiple versions of Helvetica. Mac OS X comes with a Helvetica.dfont already installed in the system. Activating another version of Helvetica can trigger this problem.
(Also, if you have the font Helvetica Fractions in your font collection, this can potentially trigger this problem as well. See above.)

FYI: Font Load Order (Hierarchy) under OS X
Mac OS X will use the fonts in the highest location first - later duplicates will not be loaded.
1. Application Font Folders
(eg /Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/Office/Fonts/ and /Applications/Adobe Indesign CS/Fonts)
2. Application Support Folders (in /Library or /Users/[username]/Library)
3. /Users/[username]/Library/Fonts
4. /Library/Fonts
5. /Network/Library/Fonts
6. /System/Library/Fonts
7. /System Folder/Fonts (if Classic is used)

Many thanks to Adam Dennis for this great Mac help.

Additional Resources:
1 A great PDF put together by J.S. McCarthy Printers, in Maine. You can find it as issue #3 on this page:

2. An excellent PDF on font management with OS X:

3. Extensis Font Management Best Practices Guide

Font Management Utilities:
FontFinangler (US$10) -- Font Cache Cleaner.

FontDoctor (US$70) -- Coretech techos won't leave home without this wonderful software.

Smasher (US$50) -- a mix of Font Doctor and FontFinangler, also lets you edit font suitcases.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


It's been another busy week at IP, but we have now finally got the time to add another exciting installment to our blog!
It occurred to me the other day, how confusing colour can be! Then I came across a fantastic article that explains RGB and CMYK extremely well. So if you were ever confused about what the printer is talking about when he is huffing and puffing that you have got your artwork in RGB, not CMYK, or you don't actually quite understand what the different processes are all about, then read on!

Colour is colour, right? Wrong! Depending on your application and use, there are two main colour referencing formats you will come across: RGB and CMYK. These two colour formats are for completely different uses, but the result of the two formats is the same to our eyes.

How do you know when each is being used? How does this influence your colour printing projects? These issues and others are the point of this discussion as we delve into the finer points of colour printing.

RGB: the primary colours of light
RGB is an acronym for Red, Green and Blue: the primary colours of light. When your computer monitor or television screen reproduces images, the three primary colours are mixed together in varying shades and strengths. The important distinction here is that light, rather than ink, is used to reproduce an image. Just because a picture looks one way on a monitor or television screen does not mean that it will be reproduced accurately on paper.

CMYK: the primary colours of ink
CMYK is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black: the primary colours of ink. When your printer reproduces images, the four primary colours of ink are mixed together in varying shades and strengths.

You are probably noticing the pattern about now, in that RGB and CMYK do the same thing but in different ways. What you have to understand is that RGB references light and CMYK is ink.

What all of this means.
You cannot print in RGB and you cannot view pictures on a monitor in CMYK. So, to answer our first question of how to know when you are using which colour format, monitors display in RGB and printers display in CMYK.

A conversion process has to take place to go from viewing pictures on a monitor to view the same pictures in print. What's more, the conversion is not always perfect or accurate. In response to the question about how this impacts colour printing: there may be differences between what you see on the monitor and what you get back from the print shop. You can compensate for this by calibrating your monitor and through printing proofs to make sure your work is translating properly.

RGB and CMYK are fundamentally different. RGB is how monitors display light. CMYK is how printers reproduce images in ink. You can make sure your colour printing turns out as expected by using a calibrated monitor and by printing proofs to check for any colour variations.

Keep creative,


Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Getting Animated!

Firstly, my apologies for not uploading a blog entry last week. Sometimes work just gets too much! But this week we are back with an extra pep in our step as the new intro for our website is up and running! Therefore, as the title might suggest, our blog this week is about the wonderful world of animation!

As technology expands and becomes far more accessible, the possibilities for using alternative ways to capture people’s attention become greater than ever before. If you are sitting at your computer reading this blog and wondering how you can dramatically direct more traffic to your website and capture a greater audience for your advertisements, then animation could be the key.
There are so many fun, quick and "to the point" animations out there that often we lose site of how effective it is - it's almost subliminal!

I will be concentrating mainly on the ways in which to captivate your web market.
Firstly, and most importantly, keep it short! If you haven't grabbed the attention of your target audience within the first 8-10 seconds, you never will!

Make it rememberable! The key to a successful animation is to get your audience talking about it... "Have you seen...?", "Look at this cool site..." etc. This works as viral marketing, it keeps people talking and reflects creativity and forward thinking.

Establish one message or key point. Don't over-complicate things. As soon as you try and cram all your ideas into one, you confuse your audience and lose their attention; you will create a greater impact with simplicity!

Always have an "opt out" option, let people skip the intro; sometimes people just can't wait, even for 8 seconds! You don't want to annoy your customers and turn away potential clients.

If you stick to these key points, you will be successful in guiding more people to your site, through the strongest form of advertising - word of mouth!

Here is a preview of the intro of our web site.
Go to imprentapronto.com to see it in all its glory!

The animation shows the blast of creativity that comes from IP. We used the printing colours CMYK to reflect our printing and design services.
The ink is made through a system of particles combined with a ‘blob mesh’ which makes the particles turn into ‘drops’ which, when they detect the others closest to them, join together as regards volume, imitating more or less the way mercury behaves.

Imprenta Pronto would like to give special thanks to Gabriel Martinez Rodriguez for his exceptional work!

Don't forget your Solutions for Success

and keep creative!