It’s the biggest problem we face with documents/art/files which are supplied or sent to us by our customers, so I’m covering the “Fonts” topic again!
Here’s the basic issue… If the computer that sends the file to the press or printer — that means one of our machines — does not have every font which was used in the file, it won’t print as expected. Period. And because there are now so many fonts and variations, it is fairly common for clients to use fonts in their files which we do NOT have installed on our computers.
There are thousands upon thousands of fonts now in use, and while our design software (the Adobe Creative Suite (CS6) group of programs) will alert us when a font used in a client CS file is not installed on our machines, not all of our clients use the Creative Suite software to create their art. This means we are not always aware there is a potential problem relating to fonts in files.
Sad but true, some of our clients still think it’s perfectly fine to use Microsoft Word to set up their flyers, invitations and other materials. Word is not design software. It’s a word processing program! If you want to type a letter or a novel, Word is just fine. But if you want to design something attractive that will print as expected, use something else please! Otherwise what we print will probably not turn out like you saw it on your computer screen. And this is in large part due to the fonts issue. If you send us a Word file, we’ll need to open it using Word on our end, and unlike our suite of design programs, it won’t tell us a single thing about potential problems such as missing fonts.
There are a few ways to eliminate the fonts issue. We’ve written in the past about the easiest way to ensure your file will print as expected, but not everybody has the ability to create PDF/X compliant files. The next best way is to embed or include the fonts used in your document when you submit your art. However, not all fonts can be included because not all fonts can be freely shared — many are subject to copyright. The final way to deal with this issue is to convert your text to outlines, in essence eliminating the font and substituting a drawing of the character. But again, if your software can do this, you can probably export to a PDF/X-1a!
Fonts seem simple but they really aren’t. And that’s why they are so troublesome. I’m sure we’ll be writing about them again!